Bernard N. Larsen Sr., the longtime owner of Moran’s Market in Portland, who dedicated his life to family and the community, died Tuesday after a period of declining health. He was 88.

Mr. Larsen began working at the iconic market on outer Forest Avenue in the early 1950s.

He purchased the store with his wife, Dorothy Larsen, in 1956 and had been running it ever since. Dorothy Larsen died in 2012.

Mr. Larsen’s son-in-law, Kevin Lynch of Scarborough, remembered him Thursday as a good man who had a soft heart and loved everyone. He said Mr. Larsen got to know his customers and had good relationships with many who frequented his store.

“Everyone knows Bernie,” Lynch said. “He cared for everyone. It was more than just a store for him. The whole community would go there to talk with him.”

Mr. Larsen took immense pride in his store. Over the years, customers could always expect homemade foods and soups for reasonable prices. He also sold staple grocery items and meat, which he butchered.


The store also features a popular hot food bar that offers homemade dishes such as lasagna, turkey dinners, shepherd’s pie and chili.

If a customer was a little short on cash, no problem. Mr. Larsen was quick to extend credit.

“He helped a lot of people,” Lynch said. “He would help people out if times were tough. He had a big heart.”

On Sept. 11, 2016, a fire broke out at Moran’s Market, which destroyed the store and apartments in the building. It took 15 months, but the family rebuilt the store and reopened just before Christmas.

Mr. Larsen’s sons, Paul and Peter Larsen, now own and operate Moran’s.

Mr. Larsen had visited twice since the reopening. He spent a few hours at the store Saturday, running the register and chatting with customers. He returned Sunday with his daughter Krista Lynch, who hadn’t yet seen the rebuild.


As they were leaving the store, Mr. Larsen asked Kevin Lynch for one last spin around Moran’s.

Paul Larsen credits his father for the success of the business. He said his father worked seven days a week for many years.

“He was the big decision-maker and the risk-taker,” his son said. “He got us where we are today.”

Mr. Larsen and his wife lived in Portland and raised four children, and he was active in the community as a longtime member of the Woodfords Club and an American Legion post.

One of the highlights of his life was spending time with his grandchildren.

His granddaughter Alison Austin remembered him Thursday for his warmth and contagious smile.


“He was the cutest man in the whole world,” she said. “He was the most lovable and sweetest man you could ever meet. … Everyone knew Grampa. I think he was the big reason why people went there.”

Mr. Larsen’s oldest granddaughter, Erin Lynch, spoke about his love for his children. She noted how proud he was of his daughter Krista Lynch, who suffered a massive stroke in October 2016 and is still recovering.

His daughter was by his side when he died Tuesday.

“Every time he saw my mom (Krista), he was so proud of her,” Erin Lynch said. “He was at peace knowing she would be OK.”

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

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

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