PORTLAND — Even though the name on the store was Moran’s, the couple who made it a success were named Larsen.

Dorothy Larsen and her husband, Bernard, ran Moran’s Market on outer Forest Avenue for most of the 55 years the market, a popular butcher shop and convenience store in the Riverton neighborhood, has operated.

Dorothy Larsen, in fact, was still involved in the store at the age of 80, although the actual running of the store has been turned over to the couple’s children.

She was dealing with store issues early last week, a few days before she died Thursday, her daughter, Krista Lynch, said.

“Even when she hardly had a breath left, she was talking about the store, talking about getting the payroll in,” Lynch said.

Larsen had been ill for some time and died the same day she was diagnosed with lung cancer, her daughter said.

Bernard Larsen opened the store with his brother-in-law, Thomas Moran, in 1956, and Moran died a few years later.

Bernard Larsen said his wife made operating the store easier by being willing to pitch in despite being a stay-at-home mom while the children were young.

Of course, living above the store, as the family did for a time, made it hard to keep work life and family life separate.

He said his wife would come downstairs to watch the store so he could attend his son’s Little League games.

“She never did it before, but she had to cut pork chops and she did,” Bernard Larsen said.

“My mother knew everyone and it’s still the same,” Lynch said.

Lynch said her mother made the family’s home a popular place for neighborhood kids “because they knew that my mother would always have food for them.”

And when the store started selling prepared meals, the recipes for everything came from her mother, she said.

Lynch said her parents were somewhat concerned when Maine changed its laws in 1990 to allow large stores, like supermarkets, to open on Sundays. Until then, smaller stores, like Moran’s, had the day to itself and shoppers looking for anything from milk to diapers had to go to a local store.

But they weren’t overly worried, Lynch said.

“They had their own customers, their loyal customers, who would go there no matter what,” she said, and her mother was a big part of the reason for that.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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