Paul Ouellette, the longtime co-owner of New Morning Natural Foods in Biddeford and Kennebunk, died unexpectedly on Dec. 4. He was 60.

His life will be celebrated during a gathering at 6 p.m. Thursday at Eastpoint Christian Church in Portland.

Mr. Ouellette and his wife, Sheila, opened New Morning Natural Foods on lower Main Street in Biddeford in 1976. By 1990 they had outgrown their first store and moved to the current location on Main Street. Five years later, they opened a second store on Route 1 in Kennebunk.

Mr. Ouellette worked in the Biddeford market and cafe while his wife ran their Kennebunk store and organic garden, which supplies some of the produce the stores sell.

On Tuesday, she reminisced about their early years together, making $30 a day selling brown rice, tofu and miso to very few people. Over the years, their business grew considerably. Sheila Ouellette said her husband helped fulfill her dreams of having an organic garden and beehives.

“He made all my dreams come true,” she said. “He was the support system that made it all happen. He was right there when I needed him. I tended to always come up with a new thing I wanted to do, and he was right there supporting me.”

The Ouellettes’ business has been a fixture in downtown Biddeford for 38 years. It’s a go-to place for residents looking to improve their health through nutrition.

“His business is a staple in downtown Biddeford,” said Craig Pendleton, executive director of the Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry. “It seemed like he had a really steady clientele that really bought into what he was selling as far as natural foods and natural products. A lot of natural foods stores come and go. It takes something special to keep them open in a town, and they did a real great job.”

John Bubier, city manager of Biddeford, said many on his staff frequent the market and cafe for lunch. He said Ouellette was always at his store and knew the products well. If a customer wanted a product he didn’t carry, he did his best to get it, Bubier said.

“He was a really pleasant guy,” Bubier said. “It was always a wonderful experience going to the store. It’s the kind of business that any community would like to have as a representative of their town or city.”

Mr. Ouellette was a dedicated family man who was active in his children’s lives. At one time or another, each of his three children worked at the store. His son Ryan Ouellette, who now performs carpentry work for the stores, said his father was loving, caring, generous and always smiling. At home, he was easygoing and even-keeled.

“I honestly don’t ever remember being mad at him,” his son said. “He was very understanding. He was a very laid-back guy.”

Mr. Ouellette had a strong faith in God. He was an active member of Eastpoint Christian Church in Portland. He and his wife also were members of Family Life Ministries, where they served as marriage mentors for many years.

The Ouellettes would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in July. She reflected on their life together, saying he was an incredible friend and her soul mate.

“He told me all the time he adored me and I adored him,” his wife said. “We were an incredible team. We were opposites, but we had the same passion for our faith in God and love of family.”

Mr. Ouellette’s son said his father had heart problems. Four years ago, he had a heart attack and recovered. The day before Thanksgiving, he had another heart attack. He died at his home in Arundel.

“It’s hard to grasp it all, really,” his wife said. “I feel extremely sad on the inside, but I have a lot to be thankful for that I had something so special that many people don’t experience. … We were like magnets. We wanted to be with each other all the time.”

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

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