PORTLAND — Paul Trusiani, 81, the founder of Paul’s Foods on Congress Street, died September 5 from complications of heart surgery.

Trusiani was born Oct.16, 1933, in Brunswick, to Cesare Trusiani and Isabelle Stevens Trusiani. He grew up in Brunswick and graduated from Brunswick High School. Soon afterward, he volunteered for and served in the U.S. Army for two years during the Korean War.

Trusiani began his lifelong career as a grocer in his youth, working behind the soda fountain at a local drugstore. In 1952, at the age of 18, he moved to Portland, and worked as an apprentice meat cutter for First National Stores. For more than a decade, he spent his days working in the retail food industry and his nights advancing his education. With his former wife, Annamarie Ross Trusiani, he also raised four children.

Trusiani eventually joined Hannaford Bros. Co., serving as a buyer, retail counselor, and head of procurement. Later, he worked as the vice president and general manager of Martin’s Foods, before deciding to establish his own company, Paul’s Food Centers.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Maine, and later received an M.B.A. from the university, where he was an inaugural member of the degree program and graduated as class valedictorian. Trusiani remained involved with USM for many years, teaching graduate courses and serving as president of the alumni board.

Trusiani was a self-made man who believed in hard work, and ran his business at 585 Congress St. with personal attention to his customers, employees and city residents. He was active in the downtown community, serving as one of the original directors of the Portland Downtown District, and was a longstanding advocate for the city’s in-town revitalization. He also served as president of the Falmouth Lions Club and as a board member of Associated Grocers.

His greatest passion was enjoying time with his family and friends. He also was a practiced long-distance runner, completing five marathons including the New York City Marathon.

Trusiani was predeceased by his parents, Cesare and Isabelle Stevens Trusiani; his brother, Arthur Trusiani; and his sister, Anna Trusiani Miller.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Susan Neufeld Trusiani; four children, Lisa Trusiani and her husband, Rick Parker, James Trusiani and his wife, Juli, Donna Trusiani Flanigan and her husband, Sean, and Paul “Buzzy” Trusiani; and two stepdaughters, Lisa Mack Morris and her husband, Robert, and Gail Mack and her husband, Dan. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Grant and Grayson Parker; Jessica, Christine and Alexis Trusiani; Connor and Joseph Flanigan; Robert and Matthew Brown; and Ronnie, Willie and Arly MackRosen. Survivors also include his nephews, Michael and James Trusiani; a niece, Patti Trusiani Estes; and many other nieces and nephews.

Visitation was scheduled to be held Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 4-7 p.m., at Jones-Rich-Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland. A Mass of Christian burial was tentatively scheduled for Friday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m., at St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, 72 Federal St., Portland. Interment will follow the Mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to The Chabad House, 101 Craigie St., Portland, ME 04102.