Anthony Walter Sohns

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Anthony Walter Sohns

August 21, 1977 - February 06, 2019

Bangor - Anthony Walter Sohns, also known as Tony "The Bug Man," died of a heart attack while on a business trip in Tucson, Arizona, February 6, 2019. He was 41 years old.
Sohns was raised in Bucksport, where his love of the natural world grew along the shores of Silver Lake. He began collecting at the age of three, when everything from rocks to live bugs could be found in his pockets. His passion for collecting and cataloging grew throughout his entire life. Yearly camping trips to Baxter State Park with his family helped to cultivate this curiosity and exploration of all things wild. From every species of Maine freshwater mussel to a complete archived collection of Maine's moths that now resides in the Smithsonian, were just a fraction of Sohns' hand collected and cataloged specimens.
Sohns was a storyteller. This was quickly realized with his natural ability to command a room, whether on stage or just over a pint of beer. This gift allowed him to share the passion he felt for the natural world with others, especially with children. Through the many programs he taught, Sohns is leaving behind a wake of natural history enthusiasts.
While studying entomology at Oregon State University, Sohns started Bug Mania, which he brought to Maine and now this event dedicated to all things bug related educates thousands of school children every year and earned him the name "The Bug Man."
His entrepreneurial spirit was fostered by the many small shops he frequented and worked at in his youth. This sprit helped him co-found The Rock & Art shop with his family. The Rock & Art Shop started in a little orange building on the side of Route 1A and grew to three downtown locations. Through the co-owned family business, Sohns was able to put to use his incredible talent for creating displays, signs, and curating natural history objects. The first downtown location was Bangor, Sohns' beloved city, of which he was an unofficial historian, tour guide, and karaoke aficionado. Few loved the city as much as he did.
Sohns was a champion of Maine at home and throughout his many travels. He was able to find fascination along any road or under any rock. From spring break trips to West Virginia to find a cryptobranchus alleganiensis (Hellbenber) with his sisters to sailing in the Caribbean, Sohns had a need for adventure that he shared with those around him.
Sohns had a respect for all living things from the giant redwoods to the tiny gnat fly. He had a way with words whether writing an ode to a fallen tree or comforting a friend. His sense of humor was infamous and his laugh, which was distinctive will be missed. The only thing bigger than Tony's love of the natural world was his heart.
Sohns is survived by his mother and father, Arlene and James Sohns; his sisters, Amanda Sohns and Annette Dodd; his brother-in-law, Chris Dodd; his nephew, Samuel James Sohns Dodd; his many friends, and the communities he loved. He will be missed dearly.
A wake will be held at Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home in Bucksport on Friday, February 15, from 4-6 p.m., and the funeral service Saturday, February 16, at 10 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul's in Bucksport.
Published on February 12, 2019
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56 posts

Helen & Joe Pare
Feb 17, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Debby Bell-Smith
Feb 17, 2019
From the rare coco de mer seed, the corpse flowe, a monkey-mermaid, electric eels, albino snakes - these are a few remarkable things that Toni brought to me and many Wassookeag homeschoolers over the years. Toni opened our eyes and our senses and brought us immeasurable joy and knowledge.
I will never forget him and will always be able to tap into his spirit to enliven and enrich my life and my teaching.
dan flannery
Feb 16, 2019
I wish I could be there in Bangor to pay respects to Tony. As is true for anyone that knew him, he transformed my life, showing me how incredibly interesting, complicated, and beautiful the natural world is. Because of Tony, I've hunted wild orchids, eaten Medeola virginiana, dug for fossils, explored Naskeag Point at low tide, seen a galamander in real life and so much more. One of my favorite memories is collecting 40+ lbs of mussels with Tony somewhere near Stueben and enjoying them with the gang at a mussel dinner party one April (Or maybe it's the nighttime hike we all took up Bald Mtn. one winter because there was a full moon?).

Tony was the spark behind so many adventures. It's as
...if he had some magical ability to get anyone to step outside of their comfort zone and, consequently, enjoy their life a little bit more. I guess that's what made him so uniquely special. His humor, way with kids, storytelling abilities, and kind heart were infectious, and I know I will never, ever meet another person like him.

Love to the Sohns's.
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Maddie DeMoranville
Feb 16, 2019
I took Tony's science class over 10 years ago at the Discovery Museum and this man was first teacher I ever had that made me love learning. I'm now pursuing my degree in Natural History and Environmental Science. You made such a big impact on a small child and I thank you for sharing your love of nature with me.
Valerie Sauda
Feb 14, 2019
Tony was an inspiration to my family and children as he introduced love of nature and bugs to all! He will be missed and we will continue to live his vision!
Jeni Webber
Feb 14, 2019
Oh, my heart is heavy with this sad news. My sons Richard and Adam Smith, who are now 21 and 19, took his homeschool classes at the Orland Fish Hatchery for several years. We gave him cds of the classes (I took a zillion photos), made him a t-shirt with a picture of mushrooms that read “Fun Guy”. His classes and personality have had a tremendous impact on our lives, and although we haven’t seen him for years we continue to observe bugs, flora and the world atoundbus with the spirit of Tony. Our hearts go out to his family. It was a joy and a great honor to know him. 💕
Matthew Rush
Feb 14, 2019
Goodbye my friend. Until we meet again in the next life.
Cindy Reilly
Feb 14, 2019
Very sorry for your hard loss. Tony will be sorely missed by all his science class kids and parents. I'll think of him every time we are in Rock N Art.
Alice MacDonald Long
Feb 14, 2019
My south facing windows each has a glass container with bog plants that I bought in the Rock and Art Shop in Bar Harbor over the last few years. They are my pride and joy and although I never knew Tony, I will look at my plants and remember the beautiful obituary written in memory of him. A life that ended much too soon - but a life well lived.
Ernest Landry
Feb 13, 2019
So sorry for your loss... Sending prayers for you and your family...
Feb 13, 2019
My son, Pat, loved Tony's summer adventure camps at the Discovery Museum. We signed him up for every camp that Tony lead. Tony wasn't afraid to let kids be kids, especially boys. Tony shined a bright light on bugs, insects and wildlife in a fun, unique and action packed way. Pat loved listening and learning from Tony while hiking, wading through swamps and stream. He made nature a wonder, especially during the overnight camping trip on Hobart Island. Tony helped my son grow and mature. There needs to be more people like Tony and he will be missed.
Feb 13, 2019
I’m very sorry for the loss of your love one. Times like these are very hard to deal with. May you receive strength and encouragement from the the God who promise that soon we’ll be able to see our love ones again. They will “hear his voice and come out” from their memorial tombs.- John 5:28,29.
Chas Bruns
Feb 13, 2019
I'm extremely sad to hear of Tony Sohns passing. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Tony taught me a lot about appreciating the little things in life and inspired me to travel on more than one occasion. He was actually one of the first people to believe in me and sponsored my show when no one else would even return my calls. A few months ago I told him I was considering wrapping the show and calling it quits. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Don’t be an idiot. We’re gonna go shoot a crazy episode together with some weird insects and poisonous shit and people are gonna love it.” I'm devastated that the opportunity to do that has passed. Although I’m 100% sure that
... Tony would have upstaged me and gotten his own spin off show and I would have been jealous as shit, haha. But now he is onto the greatest adventure of all, the Great Unknown! I'll meet you there one day my friend! Make sure to save me a seat at the table.

P.S. - If Tony were here I'm sure he'd tell me to get over it and go travel some more, so if you knew Tony, I challenge you to take that trip you've been meaning to take. Ask out that girl/guy you've had the crush on. Take a risk. Go do it all, because he definitely would.
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Amy Fried
Feb 13, 2019
I am so sad to hear this news. I remember my young son, now 22, excitedly running to Tony's sessions at the Maine Discovery Museum and eagerly sharing with me what he had done with Tony. What a loss. May his memory be a blessing.
Rick Zeamer
Feb 13, 2019
Our family knew Tony for several years. Both our children took his classes at the Fish santuary and never experienced better classes anywhere they went thereafter. We will work to keep his spirit alive in the home school community. His classes showed how science should be taught, with a love and consideration for nature which grows stronger the more you study.
We will miss him terribly but will keep him in our thoughts and wish that he is well in the new world into which he has passed.
Irene Atwood
Feb 13, 2019
So sorry to lose this remarkable, loving man. Tony and I bonded when he started his education at the Luman Warren school in Bucksport. Even when he moved on to the Jewett school, he never failed, when his school bus stopped by the Luman Warren, to sign I love you through the bus window. I have treasured this sweet memory of a terrific little boy who became so loved by so many as he improved their world.
Emily Cambria
Feb 13, 2019
Sending my deepest condolences to the family and friends, in the loss of a wonderfully special man. Tony has always held a special place in my family's hearts, ever since the wonderful vacation camps he ran at the Children's Museum.. My kids felt like he was their Big Brother.
He was a blessing to have in our lives., and he will be deeply missed. His spirit and love of nature will be forever carried in our hearts.
Jean Boddy
Feb 13, 2019
When I was at COA and involved in the Family Nature Week Tony did many programs for the families for me. He was wonderful with the children and always excited to work with the Nature programs. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.
Joyce Gildart-Currier
Feb 12, 2019
I am truly sorry for your loss. Tony was very kind whenever I saw him at The Rock Shop, as well as on a trail at Baxter State Park. He will surely be missed.,
Treva VanSantvoord
Feb 12, 2019
Tony was an amazing man who changed my life one thousand times for the better. I will always remember him and the many incredible times and adventures we had together. The world lost its biggest advocate. He lives on through the unbreakable spirit that he breathed into everyone that he touched. I love you Tony.
Ellen Gervais LaVaccare
Feb 12, 2019
I will always remember my wonderful student Tony in my elementary art classes. I was his art teacher for several years in Bucksport. He was a gifted artist and a beautiful person, a real gem. My condolences to the family. Even though he left way too soon, he gave a lifetime of joy, learning, and inspiration to many people.
Sherry Eames
Feb 12, 2019
My deepest heartfelt sympathy for your loss, much peace love and comfort upon you 💗
Carrie & Dana Doane
Feb 12, 2019
Thinking of all of you at this very difficult time. Tony was a wonderful young man. He will be missed beyond words can express.
Tyler and Nathan Paulauskas
Feb 12, 2019
I would just like to say that I'm so sorry about Tony's passing. From first hand experience, I know how amazing of a person he was. As a homeschooled child, he was my 5th grade science teacher. To this day, I still see him as my favorite teacher. He brought the good out of everybody, and the world will never be quite the same without him.
R. Renee' Paulauskas
Feb 12, 2019
I am so honored for our family to have been in the presence of such an old soul, so wealthy with knowledge and insight. I look at my husband going to school with Tony, my two son's and I attending his science home schooling class, running into him during family dinner at Nocturnum, and always a pleasure to see him and the girls at the shop. He is truly an inspiration of how to truly live your life to its fullest and be a happy kind person. We all will miss him, but I am happy to have such a genuine pure soul in mine and my family's life.