PORTLAND – The daughters of longtime Portland resident Raymond Seger feel fortunate their father met Lucien Mathieu.

In the last few months, Seger and Mathieu became fast friends. They were roommates at Portland’s Barron Center, an assisted-living facility.

He had a friend when he needed one the most, said Seger’s daughter Shirley Seger.

Seger died Friday at the Barron Center. He was 90.

Seger was born in September of 1920 in Durham and attended Durham public schools.

As a young man, he had a bellboy’s job at a hotel in Suncook, N.H., where he met and fell in love with a waitress named Jeannette Thibault. The couple married in 1941, and shortly afterward moved to a home on Riverside Street and raised three children: Iris, Shirley and Dennis.

The couple lived in Portland for 45 years, then moved to Harrison. Eighteen years later they moved to Scarborough.

Seger worked as a paper trimmer for 44 years at S.D. Warren Paper Co., and retired 29 years ago. He plowed driveways during the winter for extra income.

His pastimes included deer hunting and salmon and trout fishing at a camp he built from scratch.

One of Seger’s favorite hobbies was gardening.

“He loved the soil. He would build the biggest gardens you’ve ever seen,” said Shirley, who lives in South Portland.

And he always grew far more vegetables than the family could eat, she said. He canned the leftovers, or gave them to neighbors.

Seger also liked animals, and grew emotionally close to the chickens, pigs and cows he raised, and then slaughtered, for food.

“When they were ready to go (to the slaughterhouse), he would get upset because he was attached to (them),” Shirley said.

Seger’s son, Dennis, died in 2002, and his wife, Jeannette, died a few years later.

Seger’s daughter Iris Bailey of Westbrook said she grew closest to her father in the last four years.

“When my mother died I had some space in the backyard and we planted a garden. He took it over. He came over every day,” she said. “I’ll just miss going over and talking with him and seeing his smile.”

Shirley described her father as a kind and generous man, and “a good dad.”

“He made sure us kids had clothes on our backs and food on our tables,” she said.

Seger’s health declined, and in February he moved into a room at the Barron Center, where he met Mathieu.

He was awake and talking Thursday, Shirley said.

On Friday, Mathieu played a fiddle tune for Seger and his daughters.

Hours later Seger died.

Shirley said her father went peacefully and without suffering.

“It was nice to have him so long, but it was hard to let go,” she said.

Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or:

[email protected]