Mourners will gather Sunday at Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home in York to celebrate the long life of Paul Wentworth, former owner of Wentworth Dry Cleaning and Laundry in Freeport, whose passion for hiking fueled his fight against diabetes and inspired others.

He died Wednesday at the age of 96.

Mr. Wentworth opened his dry cleaning business in Freeport in 1953. He also offered tailoring services, and took on jobs ranging from special orders for L.L. Bean to making his daughter’s wedding dress. For many years, Wentworth’s was the only dry cleaner in Freeport. His daughter Pam Ferland of York said he ran the business for 31 years. She said he took pride in his work and took care of his customers. She said if a customer brought in a shirt that had a loose button, he would fix it free of charge.

“He was very successful,” his daughter said. “We were a family with seven kids. That’s how he took care of us. He was very organized. He enjoyed being able to help people.”

Mr. Wentworth managed his business, all while being there for his family. He was a loving husband to Elizabeth Wentworth for 66 years and a dedicated father to their children.

Ferland recalled her father’s early passions for gardening and the outdoors.

“Whenever I had a question about flowers or gardening, I would ask him. He was a wealth of knowledge,” she said.

Life shifted at age 55 when Mr. Wentworth was diagnosed with diabetes. From then on, he became a passionate advocate for diabetes causes. In 1977, he attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He didn’t finish, but he hiked 115 miles over a 10-day period and raised substantial funds for the cause.

His obituary, which was published in Thursday’s newspaper, says he was an active member of The Appalachian Mountain Club, The Appalachian Trail Conference and the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. He did trail maintenance work and edited the AMC Maine Mountain Guide book, along with planning and leading many hikes.

By age 62, Mr. Wentworth qualified for the prestigious Four Thousand Footer Club, having reached the top of the 64 mountains in New England that are over 4,000 feet. By age of 70, he was logging 100 or more summits per year.

“After the diagnosis, hiking became his passion,” his daughter said. “He wanted to make sure he maximized his opportunities as long as he could. When you have an illness, you have a weakness, and it was his intent to overcome that.”

Mr. Wentworth spent the rest of his life sharing his passion and hope with others. For many years, he volunteered at Camp Carefree in New Hampshire, a camp for diabetic children ages 8 to 15. The kids called him “Grampa Paul.” There, he helped plan and implement hiking and mountain-climbing programs for kids.

Phyllis Woestemeyer, director of ADA Camp Carefree, said he left a lasting impact on the children’s lives.

“He was an inspiration to so many people, myself included,” Woestemeyer said. “He was just an awesome man to know.”

Ferland spent Friday going through some of her father’s things, including old newspaper clippings, certificates of appreciation, and cards from kids who attended Camp Carefree. She paused to read one of the cards: “Dear Grampa Paul, You are a shining example of what good people and a healthy lifestyle are all about. You have touched my heart in many ways. My smiles are for you too.” The card was dated 1990.

“He loved that program,” his daughter said. “Exercise is a major part of diabetic control. He worked with the kids to help them develop their stamina and ability to appreciate what they could do to improve their bodies.”

In 2004, Mr. Wentworth moved to Sentry Hill in York, where he designed and helped create a nature walk called “The Wentworth Forest Trail.” There, he enjoyed playing the piano for residents, especially for birthdays and other celebrations. He also volunteered at Village Elementary School in York for its first-grade reading buddy program. His daughter said he made a difference in so many lives.

“The kids just fell in love with him,” she said.