Donald Hoffses, a set builder, producer and program manager at the former WGAN-TV in Portland who produced shows involving presidential candidates and interviewed local and national celebrities, died Saturday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 89.

Mr. Hoffses, who delivered news to Mainers for nearly a decade, then gave it all up to pursue his passion for fire service.

Mr. Hoffses, of Portland, was a volunteer fireman and built and designed firetrucks for small Maine towns for many years. He also founded Box 61, Portland Fire Buffs, a group of volunteers who served coffee, water and food to firefighters during major fires, his obituary said.

He was remembered Tuesday as a smart, determined and creative man who had many passions and interests in his life.

Mr. Hoffses began his news career in 1954 at WMPT-TV as a set designer and builder. A year later, he went to work at WGAN-TV, now WGME-TV. He held various roles, such as director, producer, program director and production manager. He directed the local news, weather and sports, and many special broadcasts, including “On the Spot,” “The Mighty Ninety Show” and “The Binnie Ellis Show.” He also directed shows starring local celebrities Lloyd Knight and Dave Astor.

In addition, he was involved in the appearance of actor Gary Merrill and actress Bette Davis, who lived in Cape Elizabeth, on the CBS program “Person to Person” with Edward R. Murrow. Another highlight of his career was interviewing presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

“He loved creating the shows,” said his wife, Jean Hoffses. “He liked meeting the personalities and making sure things worked well. In those days, it was all live television, so if things went wrong, it went live. Some days, you would get a good laugh.”

In 1963, Mr Hoffses left the news business to pursue his longtime love of fire service. He began working for Eastern Fire Equipment Co. Soon thereafter, he and two partners founded Admiral Fire and Safety Inc. He sold alarm systems to homes, restaurants and other businesses as well as equipment to fire and police departments. He eventually became sole owner of the business.

His wife said Tuesday that he designed and built firetrucks for small towns that could not afford the more expensive trucks built by prominent firetruck companies. She said he would meet with a town’s fire chief to design a truck built to its specifications. He would then supervise the building of the design by Tri-tank Engineering of Westbrook.

Towns he built trucks for included Cape Elizabeth, North Yarmouth, Cherryfield, Vinalhaven, Casco and Jay. Many of those trucks can still be seen in parades today.

During those years, he was a volunteer fireman. He also founded Box 61.

Mr. Hoffses was an active member of the state’s highway safety committee, and was a member of Woodfords Congregational Church for 58 years.

Mr. Hoffses and his wife lived in Portland and were married for 69 years. They raised three children.

Mr. Hoffses struggled with Alzheimer’s disease for many years. His wife cared for him at home.