Published: December 22, 2013

A Tribute To Wakine Tanous Sr.

November 7, 1932 – November 7, 2013

It is with great sadness and great celebration that we dedicate this Newsletter to the life of Alex’s beloved brother Wakine Tanous Sr.  Our  Loving Father Wakine passed away on November 7, 2013, his 82nd Birthday.  Alex would clearly say that this was “Beyond Coincidence” and that truly Wakine created this passage as he always said, “I don’t believe in chance, I believe in Destiny”.

Destiny it was that Wakine was Alex’s brother.  Wakine was born Nov. 7, 1931, in Van Buren, the son of Thomas Tanous and Alice (Shalala) Tanous, the fourth eldest of eight boys. They were raised in Van Buren, Maine during the 1930’s-1940’s  and took on the role of leadership in their family.  Their Dad died at a very young age and their Mom was left to raise 8 boys during a time when America was in great transition.

It was during these early years that Wakine along with his 7 brothers worked in the potato fields, worked as paperboys and doing odd jobs in the neighborhood to help keep food on the family table.  He attended Van Buren Boys School and was taught by Catholic Nuns, which led Wakine to a lifetime of deep Catholic faith.

He often shared stories with us (his children) about the winters and having so much snow it would come into the house so they each took turns at night shoveling it back out!  They also had only several pairs of shoes in the home that they shared to attend school so it would depend on who was up first to grab the shoes!

Wakine went on to graduate high school and move away from Van Buren where he began his college career but never leaving behind his true heritage in Northern Maine.  He would make frequent visits to his Mother and helped her out with whatever needed to be done along with his brothers.

Wakine graduated from Boston College and went on to Portland Maine Law School to become the youngest graduate from there in 1955.  During his time in Portland he met and married the love of his life Anna D. McKeon.  Together they moved north to a small but growing community, East Millinocket, Maine where they began their lives together alongwith their seven (7) children.

Wakine set up his first Law Practice on Main Street in East Millinocket and remained there ever since.  He jumped right into the community becoming involved with the creation of many organizations including: Helping to establish the East Millinocket Chamber of Commerce as the founding president, was a member of Kiwanis, was instrumental in creating the Maine Snowmobile Association as well as Katahdin Friends, Inc.; served as a board member of EMMC Health Care System and Millinocket Regional Hospital; was a corporator of Bangor Savings Bank.  Wakine was a very proud member of the Maine State Bar Association, Penobscot Bar Association, and Maine Trial Lawyers Association. He faithfully attended the annual Red Mass held at the Cathedral in Portland. He was fully involved in and had a great love for the Katahdin Region community and its various activities, especially playing pitch at the Pitch Club and following his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events and activities throughout the state. Wakine was recently bestowed the honor being named a Pillar of the Community along with his lifelong friends, David Bartlett, Dr. Frank Civiello, and Dr. Irvin Hamlin.He also had a love for politics, which led him to run for the Maine Senate in 1968 and serve there until 1974 which at that time he ran for Governor of the State.

Wakine enjoyed the visits with all of his brothers and their families, Alex, Nolan, Nagel, David, Charles, Joseph and Thomas (the last remaining brother).  They would get together as much as possible for family outings, and barbeques at the camp.  Each Thanksgiving was always a family reunion of the entire family where they would gather to give thanks, enjoy delicious food which also included Lebanese food, as this was their heritage and they would talk until late in the day!

Wakine was truly committed to his wife, children, grandchildren, family, dear friends, community and the State of Maine for his entire life.  So many people who we have heard from during this time have repeatedly expressed that he was one of the most generous and kind-hearted people that they had ever met and how largely his presence will be missed.

Wakine lost his wife Anna in August 2007 and was so very sadden by her passing.  He continued on with his children and grandchildren and followed their lives by attending all of the events that they were involved in.  He continued to work at his Law Firm right up until the time he passed away and most of all spent time at his camp with family where he felt at peace with such a wonderful lifetime of memories, which included animated bedtime stories every night when we were children.  How I cherish the memories of “Jack In The Beanstalk” and the more eerie one “The Cremation Of Sam McGee”.

Alex and Wakine had a wonderful bond as brothers; Alex spent many summers at the camp on Cold Stream Pond where he so enjoyed helping Wakine and Anna raise their family. As well as every Christmas at the home in East Millinocket.  Wakine and Anna needed Alex to help with such a wonderful celebration with so many children!

Before Alex’s passing he worked with Wakine on the creation of The Alex Tanous Foundation and after Alex was gone, he became the first President of the organization and remained on the Board as Clerk for the next 20 years.

We thank-you Dad, Brother, Grampie, Uncle, Godfather, Friend, Colleague, for your life with us, with your community and for always giving so much of yourself; you have left a huge void in our lives and will forever remain in our hearts.

God Bless You Dad,

Alice Tanous-Kelley


Sharing Some Wonderful Thoughts:


“Uncle Wakine was an extremely generous man to all of our family. We loved getting together at Cold Stream Pond where he was the Entertainer in Chief. He was a great husband, father and grandfather and last but not least a great Republican. We will miss you, Wakine.

Rest in Peace with God.”    – Dave & Colleen Taylor


“My deepest sympathy for my good friend Wakine,and fellow state senator, he was a great person.”     -Pete Danton-Saco Maine


“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of his children and extended family whom he loved with all of his heart. He was so proud of each and every one of you and would tell story upon story of some of the antics of his children as they were growing up, and later on his grandchildren, always with a smile on his face. We will always treasure the time we spent with him and he will be forever in our hearts. He was a man to be respected, which he worked hard to earn and very much deserved. He truly was a great man, friend, neighbor, attorney, peacekeeper, and most of all dad, as well as so many other titles of importance. He will be missed.” – Lynn and Rick Somers


“By the time I got through to the florist to order flowers for your Dad’s funeral, they were virtually out.  I asked them to make the biggest arrangements they could with what they had left.  It is not every day that someone is so loved and respected that every flower in town is used up in tribute to him.”   – Kathryn Dobrolwski, President of the Alex Tanous Foundation


“My deepest condolences to all members of Wakine’s family. My heart is heavy laden with his passing…he was a wonderful man and so helpful to my family in personal and business ways…always warm and welcoming, he is and will always be sorely missed and dearly loved. He left behind a lovely legacy …..a family of wonderful and contributing people who carry on in the spirit of this dear man…with my thoughts to each of you…sincerely.”  -Barbara Pendleton


For complete Obituary on Wakine Tanous Sr.  please see below:


The Alex Tanous Foundation for Scientific Research

P.O. Box 3818 Portland, Maine 04104-3818