PORTLAND — Alfred Schwabenhausen, a longtime postal carrier in Cumberland Foreside who had a passion for the outdoors and lived life to the fullest, died Friday. He was 64.

Most people called him “Swabby.” He was a loving husband to his wife, Mary Lou Schwabenhausen, and a devoted father to their three daughters.

Last week, his family held a vigil by his bedside at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was fighting for his life after emergency surgery.

His daughter Lori Schwabenhausen of Richmond, Va., said his room was small — about 8 feet by 10 feet — and had only a love seat, two wooden chairs and two upholstered chairs.

She said the family camped out in his room for a week telling stories about him and laughing — the same way he told stories throughout their lives.

“Once we started telling the stories, we realized how comforting it was and we kept going,” his daughter said. “My nieces had a chance to hear stories they never heard before. My dad was a natural storyteller. In his absence, we became the storytellers. It’s what we learned from him.”

His daughter reminisced Monday about the summers he took them camping. She said her father taught them how to catch a fish, gut it and clean it. She said he also taught them how to put up a tent and start a fire

“He had a rule if you caught it, you clean it,” his daughter recalled. “We would cook it over an open fire. We were girls, but he didn’t treat us like girls. He treated us like children who like to explore and have fun and go on adventures. We have great memories of exploring as kids.”

Mr. Schwabenhausen had a passion for the outdoors. He enjoyed camping, hunting, boating and fishing. He often rented cabins on Rangeley Lake, Moosehead Lake and Sebago Lake. He also taught his daughters how to shoot a gun and hunt.

“He would say, ‘It will be fun let’s go. It will be an adventure,’ ” she recalled.

Mr. Schwabenhausen had another rule about his daughters driving cars.

“We needed to know how they worked,” she said. “He would pop the hood and teach us about the engine and how to change the oil and diagnose some basic problems.”

A lifelong resident of Portland, he met his wife, Mary Lou, at a local diner. She talked last week about the first time she laid eyes on him, remarking to her daughters that “he was the most charming, handsome man she had ever met,” his daughter recalled.

He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 37 years as a mail carrier in the Cumberland Foreside area. His daughter said he knew everyone on his route and was well-liked by residents. He retired in 2003. “It was his community and he was very protective of it,” she said.

Mr. Schwabenhausen was also protective about the morning time slot featuring the TV show “Live with Regis and Kelly.” His affection for the show was noted high in his obituary.

“His whole schedule was fixated around the show,” his daughter said. “It was a very serious part of his day. He loved Regis. He loved his humor. When Regis retired, that was it. He didn’t watch it anymore.”

His family and other interests took over the morning time slot.

He recently became sick. For most of last week, the picture with this story was taped to his hospital bed.

“It was his favorite picture,” his daughter said. “He was out on the water with my mom fishing. He had his granddaughter asleep in his arms with this content look on his face. I’m sure he taught Marie (Delcourt) how to fish. He had his whole world right there.”

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