For Tim Salce, all the world was a stage, whether he was performing on Broadway or singing at his dinner table in South Portland.

On Friday, the curtains closed.

Mr. Salce, 63, most proud of his role as a husband and father, died unexpectedly at his home.

His 20-year-old daughter, Gabby Salce, said the cause of his death has not been determined.

As a young adult, Mr. Salce lent his baritone voice to Broadway shows, some that toured the country, and acted in soap operas, including “All My Children.”

After leaving New York to raise his two children in Maine, he got involved with “Best of Broadway,” an annual fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.


“His voice was like velvet, smooth and cool,” his daughter said Saturday.

As a child, she loved to hear him sing her to sleep. His lullaby of choice was “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole.

As she got older, Gabby Salce, who inherited his gift, would join him for impromptu duets at the dinner table. “The Way You Look Tonight” was their song.

“He was one of those old crooners,” she said about her dad.

Mr. Salce was also known to improvise at any moment with a funny face or a disco finger, just to get a smile.

But his most notorious move was his bear hug, always followed by a “big fuzzy mustache kiss,” his daughter said.


One winter he grew a beard, she said, and when neighborhood kids confused him with Santa Claus, he happily took on the part.

“You couldn’t help but love him,” said his daughter.

His neighbors in South Portland said Saturday that Mr. Salce was a fixture on Goudy Street, always with a wave and often with his poodle mix, Duke, by his side.

“He was the neighbor that everyone would want to have,” said Kara Tierney-Trevor, who lives across the street from his house.

Affable and funny, he made friends easily, and one way he brought them together was with food.

Mr. Salce cooked for catering companies in Maine and New York, where he also worked as a private chef for the Consulate General of Finland.


“We loved it when he barbecued for us,” said Jane Pappi Smith, his longtime next-door neighbor. For his daughter, a bowl of beef and apple stew when it got cold out was the best.

At the time of his death, he worked in the prepared foods department at Whole Foods.

When he wasn’t at work, he spent as much time as he could with his family, including his daughter, 16-year-old son, Anthony, and wife, Jean.

He made sure he told them he loved them every day, his daughter said.

“He just had an incredible capacity to love people,” she said.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

Twitter: @lesliebridgers


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