YARMOUTH — Timothy Flaherty, a dedicated firefighter who served 33 years with the Portland Fire Department, died early Tuesday after a long, valiant fight with cancer. He was 63.

Mr. Flaherty joined the department in 1972 as a firefighter. He was promoted to a lieutenant in 1978 and spent most of his career with Portland’s Engine 11.

Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne said on Tuesday that he was an outstanding firefighter, who offered guidance, leadership and his friendship to many in the department. He retired in 2005.

“The greatest thing Tim brought to fire service was himself,” LaMontagne said.

“He was a man with a can-do attitude and gave any task he worked on 1,000 percent. I don’t know if we will ever find another one like him.”

He was the husband of Therese Flaherty of Yarmouth for 42 years. He also leaves two children, Melissa McNaboe of Yarmouth and Mark Flaherty of New York City.

He was remembered by his wife and children on Tuesday as a warm, caring and compassionate guy who lived a simple life and loved his four grandchildren to pieces.

“His grandchildren were the light of his life,” his wife said.

She remembers the day they met – in a typing class during their sophomore year at Portland High School.

“He was the love of my life,” she said. “We had a beautiful life together. He would do anything to make me happy and he always did. … I feel so blessed to have had him for 42 years.”

In addition to being a firefighter, Mr. Flaherty ran a painting business on the side. His wife said he was an accomplished painter, who had a solid reputation and was known for his clean lines.

“He was an artist. He had such skill with a brush,” his wife said.

He had a passion for gardening too, said his daughter. “He gave me perfect gardening advice too,” McNaboe said. “I learned a lot from him.”

His son shared fond memories of the times he went hunting and fishing with his father.

“He showed me the ropes,” Mark Flaherty said.

“The one thing he always said to me was, ‘Do what you need to do.’ That sums it up for me. He was very supportive. He was really down to earth. He really showed that unconditional love.”

In 2004, Mr. Flaherty was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a serious bone marrow disorder. His wife said he had a positive outlook and continued to work throughout his illness, and fought hard to live.

“He fought till the end,” she said. “I’ll miss the life we spent together. He was the best husband I could have asked for. … He was my hero.”

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]