Roland Nolette read the obituaries in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram faithfully every day.

So today’s feature obituary is dedicated to him.

Mr. Nolette, an accomplished finish painter in the Biddeford area, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 86.

He rose from humble beginnings to create a good life for himself and his family. He grew up poor in Biddeford. He went to local schools but did not attend high school. At age 17, he enlisted in the Army and served briefly during World War II.

Soon after his discharge from the Army, Mr. Nolette went to work at Cummings Grocery, a food distributor in Portland. He was employed there for 10 years before taking a similar job at Bugbee & Brown Warehouses in Biddeford.

Mr. Nolette next went to work as a finish painter, his occupation for more than 30 years. He was self-employed and did mostly interior work, such as painting houses and staining furniture. His family on Tuesday described his work as skilled and precise.

“He was very proud of his work,” said his son, Leo Nolette of Lyman. “He would go into a house and stain cabinets on a white wall. Nothing would get on the walls. He was very fussy. He taped up everything.”

Mr. Nolette spent his later years working at West Point Pepperell Co. in Biddeford, retiring in 1988.

Outside work, he was a loving husband to his his wife, Theresa Nolette, for 52 years. The couple lived in Biddeford, where they raised two children. She died in 2002.

His son shared stories of his childhood, recalling memories of walking with a goat in Riley, his father’s birthplace, and swimming at Deer Pond in Hollis.

“We always looked forward to Sundays,” his son said. “Not only did my father bring me and my sister, but we brought our friends with us. Once we got there, it was like one big family. It was a lot of fun.”

Mr. Nolette had many hobbies throughout his life. He enjoyed building model ships and airplanes. He followed NASCAR, the Red Sox and the Patriots. His daughter-in-law, June Nolette of Lyman, said he collected books on movie stars and saved the obituaries of his favorites who passed away. She said he loved big bands and musicians such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

Mr. Nolette was generous with his time and talents. His son described the projects his father did for friends, neighbors and for him. When a friend needed a porch built, Mr. Nolette helped. When his son needed finish work done, his father painted. When his son built decorative shadow boxes, his father stained them.

“He brought the shadow boxes to life,” his son said. “I would build things and they would look dull. When I tried to stain it. I would destroy it. … If I had a paintbrush in my hand, he was looking over my shoulder.”

Mr. Nolette’s life revolved around his family. He had close relationships with his grandchildren and enjoyed family gatherings at his son’s house.

“His highlight was to come here and have a barbecue,” his son said. “He loved seeing his grandchildren and the dogs and (granddaughter) Jessica’s pug, Bella. He loved Bella. He loved dogs. … He just loved being here. He liked that and we did, too.”