PORTLAND – Anthony C. Fornisano told his wife and children last week that he would not live to see Father’s Day, this coming Sunday, or his birthday on July 30.

For many years, the Fornisano family gathered on Father’s Day to celebrate him. And with good reason.

He was a longtime maintenance supervisor at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland and dedicated his life to his wife, Frances, and their three daughters.

“I think the best times he had in life was spending time with us and with my mom,” said daughter Catherine Fornisano of Windham. “We were his diamonds, you know. We were his No. 1.”

Mr. Fornisano died on Sunday after a long and valiant fight against diabetes and kidney failure. He was 82.

He was remembered by his family on Monday as a quiet, strong and witty guy who worked hard to provide a good life for his family.

Mr. Fornisano supervised maintenance at the courthouse for 27 years. His daughter remembered times when he switched his schedule so he could attend their school activities. He and his wife worked opposite shifts so that one of them would always be with the children. He was a great role model for them growing up, she said.

“He taught me patience, love and respect,” she said. “I looked up to him. He was my protector.”

Mr. Fornisano retired from the courthouse around 1995.

He was married to Frances Fornisano for 54 years. The couple met in Portland’s Little Italy neighborhood, where they both grew up. They enjoyed taking walks around Portland and watching movies together.

“He wasn’t much of a hobby man,” his daughter said. “He really enjoyed staying home with my mom and watching movies. They had very little possessions. They weren’t rich by any means, but we had the best growing up. They went without so that we could have.”

Mr. Fornisano struggled with diabetes for the past 15 years or so. About four years ago, his kidneys began to fail.

In January, his health began to decline. On June 1, he was placed in the hospice center at Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence in Portland. His wife spent most of every day there with him. She stayed by his side since the day he was admitted to the hospital in mid-April. She was too broken-hearted to speak on Monday.

“She was the love of his life,” his daughter said. “She kept saying to him over the last couple days ‘Don’t forget to save a chair for me up there.’ “

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