Michael Colello, a retired Portland letter carrier and former basketball official and baseball umpire who officiated at hundreds of games across southern Maine, died Tuesday of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 85.

Mr. Colello was a former Portland High School basketball standout, who became Maine’s first foul-shooting champion in 1947. His obituary, published in Thursday’s Portland Press Herald, recounts his life-changing experience: “Mike was ice-cool as he sank 41 out of 50 foul shots to become the first champion of the foul shooting contest, beating out 90 other Maine school champions.” That year, the ace-shooter went on to compete in the New England foul-shooting championship at Boston Garden. In that contest, he hit 20 out of 25 foul shots to win the championship.

“It was the highlight of his life,” said his wife, Janice Colello of Portland. “It was so important to him. He was considered a sleeper.”

Mr. Colello could have pursued a professional basketball career. But instead, he joined the Navy after graduating from high school in 1947. He was stationed aboard the USS Hyman (DD-732) near Israel. In 1950, during the Korean War, he served aboard the USS Leyte, an aircraft carrier that sent planes to bomb North Korea, according to his obituary. He served four years and returned home to Portland.

He was a loving husband to Janice Colello for almost 51 years. The couple lived in Portland, where they raised two children, Michael P. Colello and Paula McGee.

Before Mr. Colello’s visiting hours Friday, his wife reminisced about the early years when they would see each other around Portland. She remembered seeing him at local dance halls, the Top of the East and Harold T. Andrews Post 17. At first, he would just smile at her from across the room. She laughed, recalling the gesture he made with his hands to ask her to dance. He asked a couple of times, but she ignored him.

“I didn’t like him,” she said, chuckling. “I thought he was cocky and arrogant. We laughed about this for years.”

The third time, she agreed to a dance. He promptly went to her table and walked with her to the dance floor.

“I looked at him,” his wife said, recalling the moment. “He was so handsome and so nice. I loved him after that. I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter man.”

Mr. Colello worked for the Postal Service for 21 years, delivering mail to residents in Portland’s West End. He was active in the letter carriers union for many years and served a stint as vice president.

He was remembered this week as a fun, outgoing and sensitive man who loved life. Paula McGee, of Tampa, Fla., said her father devoted his life to his family. She reminisced about family gatherings on Turner Street on Munjoy Hill. She said they got together to celebrate birthdays and holidays like the Fourth of July. She noted that he was a “sharp dresser and the life of the party.”

“Growing up, it was very much about family,” McGee said. “He just loved his kids. He supported us in whatever we wanted to do. He was very proud of us, … very loving.”

Mr. Colello had a lifelong passion for sports. He was a well-respected basketball official and baseball umpire who officiated at hundreds of games across southern Maine for more than 12 years. In his later years, he enjoyed playing golf at Riverside Golf Course and walking around Back Cove. His daughter said he was a big sports fan and stayed active throughout his life.

“My memories of him are of a fun guy,” she said. “He was the first out dancing at a wedding. … He loved to socialize.”

Mr. Colello’s funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 72 Federal St. in Portland. A graveside service, with military honors, will be held in May at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.