SCARBOROUGH – Thomas Sesto had an entrepreneurial spirit and an eye for the unusual.

Every Saturday morning, he toured yard sales, garage sales and flea markets in the Portland area, looking for treasures among people’s junk. His prized finds included a suit of armor, a collection of furniture for dwarfs, old fishing lures, and rare books and art.

Mr. Sesto, who died Wednesday at age 58, would re-sell items and make a profit. Trouble is, he had a tough time parting with things, said Jeff Robertson, his friend for the past 30 years.

“His passion was for collecting treasures and artwork,” Robertson said. “It’s like a museum, walking through his home.”

Robertson and Mr. Sesto were among three dozen or so regulars at weekend garage sales. They also frequented Cherished Possessions in South Portland, auctions, and flea markets throughout Greater Portland and York County.

One of his biggest finds was a painting that he bought for $5 at a yard sale in Cape Elizabeth. He sold it for more than $3,000.

“He had a real gift for finding art,” Robertson said. “He was unique — just like his collections.”

Mr. Sesto grew up on Meetinghouse Hill in South Portland and graduated from the University of Maine in 1971. Later, he received a master’s degree in business from Husson College in Bangor and became a real estate agent.

He was married to Barrie “Missy” Sesto for the past 20 years.

His wife said Thursday that they had known each other since the 1970s, and reconnected after he sold her a house in 1986.

“He was an old friend who came back into my life at a time when we were both looking for someone,” she said. “It was almost like fate brought us together. We had the same passions and goals and we both wanted children.”

Mr. Sesto was remembered by his three children Thursday as a caring, optimistic and generous man whose focus was always his family.

“He was one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life,” said his 21-year-old daughter, Chelsea Sesto of Orono. “I feel so lucky that he was my dad. He was such a cool and unique individual.”

His son, Alec Sesto, 20, of Scarborough, said his father guided him through life and taught him how to be a man.

“They say the good die young. My dad was really a good guy,” he said. “I looked up to him. He was a great dad and friend.”

Mrs. Sesto’s daughter Jill Ewing, 26, of Pownal, said, “He was awesome. … He was very supportive and always wanted the best for us.”

Mr. Sesto enjoyed being with his family. They took trips to Mexico and London, and to Pennsylvania to visit family members.

“We are a very close family,” his wife said. “We had a lot of fun together. We were able to do off-the-cuff things together. It was a blessing. It’s what we wanted most in our lives.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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