Karla Jurgelevich, a skilled dental ceramist and longtime owner of Fine Dental Arts Inc. in Portland, who was active in the city’s gay and lesbian community, died Feb. 18 after six-month fight against cancer. She was 59.

Family and friends will gather to celebrate her life from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at her home, 12 Mayland St. in Portland.

Ms. Jurgelevich had a natural artistic ability and creative flair that seemed to shine in every aspect of her life. She grew up on Long Island, N.Y., the daughter of the late Bill Jurgelevich, a physical education teacher and coach, and Ruth Jurgelevich, a commercial artist in Boston.

Her inherent passion for painting, drawing and sculpture drew her to the University of Buffalo, where she graduated with an art degree.

Ms. Jurgelevich became a dental technician and used her artistic ability to create teeth and restore smiles.

She operated her own business, Fine Dental Arts Inc., for about 30 years. She worked for numerous dentists in southern and central Maine including Dr. Vance Horne for 25 years. She worked closely with patients to ensure the teeth she made were perfect in color, shape and size.

“She was an artist in every sense of the word,” Horne said Wednesday. “She had an eye for color and anatomy, and was wonderful at what she did.”

She also loved sports. In high school, Ms. Jurgelevich played field hockey, basketball and softball. In college, she was a standout on the women’s softball team. She liked skateboarding, water skiing and snowboarding. Later in her life, she developed an interest in weightlifting and became a personal trainer. Her brother, Kirk Jurgelevich of Portland, reminisced Monday about the fun times they had playing sports.

“She had to tough it out with all of my buddies and step up to compete with us,” he said. “She could throw and catch a ball and have fun with kids around the neighborhood. It was just awesome. We would have a touch football game with six or seven guys and Karla. She was always one of the first ones picked. All the guys wanted her on their team because she could play as hard as them.”

Ms. Jurgelevich lived in Portland with her four cats and her dog. Her brother told stories this week about the closeness they shared. He said his sister also had a strong bond with his two kids, Kirk “KR” and Ryan. He said she attended all of their games.

“She has always been my best friend,” her brother said. “We did everything together. She was a super person to be around … brother and sister, you know. We were blood buddies.”

Ms. Jurgelevich was a beloved member of Portland’s LGBT community. She was active with Southern Maine Pride and helped organize different events for last year’s gay pride festivities, including the successful Requiem for the Disco at Grace.

Thyiace Rose, one of her longtime friends, said she was loved by many in the community.

“It’s such a huge loss in the world,” Rose said. “She was an amazingly kind and generous person … so charismatic and open … just very loving. She was this light beam. She just lit up a room with herself. She was a very charming and funny person with a huge heart.”

Nancy Foss, another friend, noted her dedication to friends and passion for life. “We were confidants … decadelong witnesses to each other’s lives through the hills and the valleys,” Foss said. “Karla was both your cheerleader and confidant. She was always someone I could seek counsel from. She was definitely someone who was full of forgiveness.”

Many of those friends rallied around her when she was diagnosed with cancer. Her brother said her final days were filled with smiles and laughter. “I’ll miss my little sister,” he said.