PORTLAND — Just when Donald Close thought he had taught everyone in Greater Portland how to use the microfilm machine at the Portland Public Library, another person asked for his help.

“He was very patient with people,” said Linda Putnam, head of the library’s research and information department. “He had a nice service ethic. He came to the library wanting to do things the right way.”

Mr. Close died unexpectedly early Saturday. He was 84.

He worked in the periodicals section of the library for 20 years. He retired at the age of 81.

He was married to Frances Close for 60 years. She recalled on Tuesday the day they met at the A.H. Benoit & Co. clothing store in Portland. He worked in the shipping area and she worked in the display department.

The couple lived on Brentwood Street in Portland for 48 years and raised three children. They enjoyed taking walks through Evergreen Cemetery. They would have celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in August.

“He was my one and only,” his wife said Tuesday. “I will miss him very much.”

Mr. Close grew up in South Portland. He left high school during his senior year to enlist in the Navy during World War II.

He served on the seaplane tender USS Curtiss as a hospital apprentice first class. At the end of the war, he re-enlisted for another two years to qualify for the GI Bill.

Before he worked at the library, he worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery as a classification specialist, then transferred to the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

He worked there for about 22 years and retired in 1988.

His daughter, Kimberly Hanks of Hollis, said Tuesday that he did payroll and accounting for the civilians who worked on the base.

She said her father enjoyed the work despite the long commute. “It was quite a haul,” she said. “He came from the old school. He did what he had to do.”

Mr. Close was remembered by his family on Tuesday as a dedicated family man who enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.

“He was always there for us when we needed him,” his daughter said. “He wasn’t overly affectionate or things like that, but we always knew how he felt about us.”

In his early years, he had a passion for hunting and fly-fishing. His daughter said he was an avid collector of German guns and studied the German language when he was in his 80s.

Mr. Close went to the hospital early Saturday complaining of chest pain. He died soon after.

Hanks said she was shocked to get the call that her father had died.

“It’s hard,” she said. “We will have to be here for my mom.”

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