SOUTH PORTLAND – Robert Towle was an artist with a blow dryer.

Mr. Towle, a hair stylist at Amore Styles in Portland, who spent the past 20 years making women feel, in his words ‘fabulous,’ died on Thursday. He was 56.

Mr. Towle was a popular and highly respected hair stylist at Amore and produced the Miss Maine Scholarship Pageant for more than 30 years. Brenda Broder, owner of Amore, said he was a wizard with a blow dryer and could create art with hair.

“He could take a head of hair that was a nightmare and turn it into a flawless piece of art,” Broder said. “Then, of course, we heard about it for the next two weeks.”

Mr. Towle was remembered by his friends and family Sunday as a gentleman, whose charm and charisma was infectious to those around him. Broder said his humor and quick wit made the salon an enjoyable place for clients and employees.

“It was like walking into a Seinfeld episode every day,” Broder said. “We had this synchronicity of humor. We found humor in the quirkiness of life. We laughed a lot sometimes with you, most times at you.”

Mr. Towle produced the Miss Maine Scholarship Pageant for more than 30 years. Every year, he accompanied the winner of the pageant to the Miss America Pageant. There, he styled the hair for Miss Maine, and other Miss America winners, including celebrities Vanessa Williams and Leanza Cornett.

“He loved styling hair,” Broder said. “He loved women. He loved and admired women for their strength and beauty. He was always a gentleman.”

Mr. Towle was a fixture in the community. News of his death spread quickly among his friends and clients and many stopped by the salon on Friday. His work station is overflowing with flowers, yellow ribbons, and pageant memorabilia, Broder said.

Mr. Towle had a close relationship with his niece, Jennifer Towle of Windham. She said her uncle was generous, outgoing, and kind. She said he was the type of person that would open his home to friends or family.

“He was flawless,” his niece said, noting they spent a lot of time together in her younger years. “He would dress me to the nines and take me shopping. He always did my hair. For 36 years, he has done my hair.”

Mr. Towle was known around Portland’s karaoke circuit for singing, “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Broder said he had a natural artistic ability, and loved the theater and traveling.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Smith Cemetery in Windham. A celebration of his life will be held June 20.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be

contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]