Robert Harris, a well-known funeral attendant at Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Homes who dedicated his life serving grieving families across Greater Portland, died unexpectedly Saturday. He was 82.

Mr. Harris, known by many as “Mr. Funeral,” collapsed Saturday outside a church as he was getting flowers for a funeral service. He was rushed to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he died of cardiac arrest.

“He died doing what he loved,” said Adam Walker, owner of Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Homes. “On that day, he wanted to make sure the flowers were set up for the family so when they got there for the funeral, it was perfect. That’s the type of man he was. He was so dedicated.”

Mr. Harris spent the past 57 years serving heart-broken families in the Portland area. He began his career at the former Hay and Peabody Funeral Home in 1958. There, he learned the profession and operated its ambulance service. In 1989, he joined Jones, Rich, and Hutchins Funeral Home in Portland. He worked there until 2005, then joined Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Homes. He worked at nearly every funeral service over the past 10 years.

Christopher Crawford, longtime owner of the business, said Harris was well respected by funeral directors across the state.

“It’s a big loss,” Crawford said of his passing. “He was very much involved with funeral service in the Greater Portland area. He had so much interest and drive. He never lost that edge of wanting to help and assist people.”

Walker said Harris always went above and beyond to help families.

“Its been a very somber few days here,” Walker said. “It’s a very big loss to us. We have lost one of the best funeral attendants in the state of Maine.

Mr. Harris, of South Portland, was a loving father of four children. He was remembered by his children Monday as a dependable father who worked hard to give them a good life. His daughter, Liza Dalfonso of Gorham, said he wasn’t one to show his feelings, but they knew he loved them.

“He did the best he knew to do. He was special,” she said.

Dalfonso laughed Monday as she shared stories of being picked up from school in a hearse and her brothers getting haircuts at the morgue.

“There were a lot of stories like that,” his daughter said.

Mr. Harris’ obituary, which is published in Tuesday’s newspaper, says he served as head quartermaster of the 5th Maine Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. He was also an artist and calligrapher, and enjoyed doing the jitterbug. He also stayed active and walked regularly at Bug Light Park in South Portland.

“He had a beautiful smile and he loved to laugh,” his daughter said. “When he saw you or spoke to you, he was so happy to see you. There was nothing better. I’m really going to miss that.”