James McCann Sr., a longtime supervisor for the city of Portland’s Public Works Department, died on Sept. 14 after a battle with cancer. He was 63.

Mr. McCann worked for the city for more than 40 years, most recently with its water resources division. He was remembered Friday as a dedicated city employee who worked hard to ensure clean water resources for Portland residents.

His wife, Linda McCann of South Casco, said he took pride in his work for the city.

“He was proud of everything he could bring to his job,” she said. “He was thorough and conscientious. He was very responsible in making sure everyone was safe and that the job was done the way it should be done.”

His obituary, which is published in Sunday’s newspaper, notes his work to have the former Engine Company No. Nine Firehouse added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

His wife said he was very proud to have accomplished that.

Mr. McCann, known by many as “Jamie,” was a loving husband and dedicated father to two children. His wife laughed and cried Friday as she shared stories about their life together. She remembered hearing his voice and meeting him briefly for the first time on her birthday in January 1977. She said they met for brunch hours later.

“When I met him … oh my God! He was so handsome and charming. He seemed to enjoy the same things I did,” she said. “It was very exciting right off the bat. It felt very comfortable, very natural like it was meant to be. I never felt that before.”

The McCanns were married on June 26, 1981. They lived in South Casco for more than 33 years. They also kept a boat, a 21-foot Sea Ray Mid Cabin, at Breakwater Marine in South Portland. Mrs. McCann talked about their boating adventures in Casco Bay, lobstering, and taking cruises to Boothbay Harbor. She said they spent weekends on the boat throughout the season.

“From April 1 to Nov. 1, that’s what we did,” she said. “You have the vast water and serenity coming back from Boothbay, sometimes with four- to five-foot swells. Our life was about adventures and meeting people. He had a really keen awareness of human nature. To me, that was a gift.”

At home, Mr. McCann loved being with his family. His wife recalled those moments he would sit with his daughter and watch “The Little Mermaid,” and ride motorcycles with his son.

“He was an awesome father,” she said.

Mr. McCann enjoyed working in their garden. He grew herbs, tomatoes and perennials. He always took care of their boat and cleaned the pool, his wife said.

“I’ll certainly miss him doing all the work around the house and the cooking,” she said. “He loved to do it all, and pretty much insisted on it. No one could make anything taste as good as he could.”

Mr. McCann developed heart problems in March and successfully underwent triple bypass surgery.

At his follow-up appointment, doctors discovered that he had stomach cancer. He had a few rounds of chemotherapy, but developed heart problems again. His wife said she finds comfort in knowing he is no longer in pain.

“I would lay in his hospital bed and we would just hug each other,” she said. “He would use whatever strength he had to put his arms around me to hug me. To me, that was very endearing.”

Mr. McCann spent most of the last two weeks of his life at Maine Medical Center. His wife said she and their children visited every day for as long as they could. She said they watched television and ate meals together. They talked, cried and laughed, sharing memories of their time with him.

“I always held out some hope that we had more time together,” his wife said. “I kept thinking we have today. We are going to make the most of every minute we have. We really did live for the day. We had some of the best times because of that.”

Mrs. McCann reflected on the days and months ahead. She sobbed thinking of her life without her husband.

“I’ll miss his hugs. I miss him being here. I’ll miss asking him all these stupid questions and getting his input on every little thing. I’ll miss doing things with him and being with him. Though I feel like he is still with me, so that’s a good thing.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MelanieCreamer