Lt. Robert Scamman. Photo courtesy of his family

Robert J. Scamman Sr., a retired York police lieutenant who had a competitive streak and passion for life, died unexpectedly on May 19. He was 64.

Mr. Scamman joined the York Police Department as a patrol officer in 1978. He worked patrol for several years and then became an accident reconstructionist. He was promoted to patrol sergeant, then administrative lieutenant around 2001.

Mr. Scamman oversaw the department’s technology and communications systems. He implemented the use of Toughbook laptops in police cruisers, IMC and CAD software, and held various radio positions. He also managed the town’s dispatchers and enhanced 911 system that serves York and Ogunquit.

York Police Chief Charles J. Szeniawski said Scamman was dedicated to his job.

“He served very well,” Szeniawski said. “He did an awful lot for the town and the PD.”

York Police Sergeant Brian Curtin said Wednesday that Scamman had a positive impact in the community.

“He touched a lot of lives,” Curtin said. “In my eyes, he left a great legacy in the community. A lot of people have come forward to say how much of a positive impact he had on their lives. He worked really hard. He was really living life. It was cut too short.”

The lieutenant retired on Nov. 22, 2017, after nearly 40 years on the job.

Mr. Scamman lived in Casco with his wife, Elaine. The couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in March.

His wife laughed and cried Wednesday sharing memories of their life together. She said it was a second marriage for both. They knew each other as teenagers and reconnected in their late thirties.

“He always told the story about how he always liked me and wanted to date me, but I wouldn’t give him the time of day,” his wife said, noting it wasn’t true. “He never talked to me,” she said laughing.

Mr. Scamman was a devoted father of two children and attended all of his kid’s sports games, his wife said. In his early years, he operated a lawn mowing business.

“He would put the kid’s bikes in the back of his truck and bring them to the houses where he was mowing,” his wife said. “The kids would ride their bikes in the driveway. The people loved it because they would give the kids cookies and play with them while he was mowing. He took them everywhere. He did everything with them.”

Mr. Scamman was an avid runner who competed in dozens of races and marathons since 2002. He ran the Boston Marathon several times, and also the Maine, New York City and Marine Corps marathons. His wife laughed, recalling the day he told her he wanted to compete in an ironman triathlon.

“I told him, no, you’re not doing it. You’ll never be home. Nope, nope, nope. I put a stop to that. I don’t think his friends were happy with me,” she said. “Everything with him was competitive. If I said to him, ‘Bob, for God sake, you can’t do that,’ he had to always prove people wrong. At least he attempted to. Most times he did.”

Mr. Scamman and his wife spent the past few winters in Ocala, Florida. There, he discovered a passion for pickleball.

“He absolutely loved it,” she said.

Mr. Scamman and his wife were driving from Florida to their home in Casco when he died. They had driven 12 hours before stopping in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to spend the night.

His wife said she woke up in the middle of the night and heard him in distress. She thinks he had a massive heart attack. She tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

“It was horrible,” she said. “I was screaming for someone to help me. I was on the phone with 911. I didn’t know what to do. I checked for a pulse, but couldn’t feel it.”

She broke down in tears on the phone.

“Bob and I had a great relationship,” she said. “We truly truly loved each other. I always called him my knight in shining armor. He always called me his dream girl. I was his rock. He was my rock. We did everything together. It’s a huge void in my life now. He is going to be missed.”

Visiting hours will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on July 18 at Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home, 91 Long Sands Road in York.

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