PORTLAND – Larry Littlefield’s choice of profession — security — and his burly stature belied a gentle, caring man, family members said Saturday.

Littlefield, 49, who was director of security for Portland for 26 years and owned his own security firm, died Wednesday in Boston of a rare form of cancer.

His ex-wife, Janet Littlefield, said he was a hard-working man who put in 40 hours a week with the city, ran the security company and even for a time ran his own trucking company.

He was working for event security at the Cumberland County Civic Center when his father, who worked in security at the Portland Expo, suggested him for a security job when the Expo decided to try to attract more concerts and other non-sports events. It was ideal for Littlefield, who “loved being around the music,” his ex-wife said.

Littlefield even went on tour with some of the acts, providing security for the Rolling Stones, Phish, Journey and the Grateful Dead.

Janet Littlefield and Larry Littlefield met at the Civic Center, where she worked at a concession stand.

Because she was 15 at the time and he was 22, they didn’t date then, but “we obviously kept finding our way back to each other over the years” and began dating in 1994 and married in 1997.

Janet Littlefield said Larry Littlefield’s philosophy on providing security was to avoid a physical confrontation with a bothersome fan at all costs.

“He felt you don’t have to be big and burly to work security, you just need to be able to talk — and he could do that,” she said.

His sister Norma Jean Meehan said her brother’s size meant “he could be a soft-hearted guy.”

He was known for being low-key and often running late, she said.

“There was actual time, and then there was ‘Larry time,’ ” Meehan said. “It was always, ‘I’m five minutes away,’ and his five minutes was, in actual time, about an hour.”

Janet Littlefield said her ex-husband always had time for his workers, despite the hours that just running the company and his day job involved.

“He was more like a father figure to them,” she said. “He was always there to listen and help them with their problems.”

His own problems, she said, he kept to himself. He didn’t tell many others he had cancer, even though it was diagnosed a year ago, Janet Littlefield said.

“You didn’t know Larry had a problem,” she said. “He didn’t share his problems — he took on yours.”

Most of all, she said, he was known for his gregarious way of greeting friends.

“He always had that great big bear hug,” she said. “If you walked up to him and he knew you, you didn’t put your hand out for a handshake. He’s going to give you a big hug.”

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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