Annamarie Trusiani

Annamarie Trusiani, who co-founded the former Paul’s Food Center on Congress Street in Portland and ran the real estate side of the business for 42 years, died June 28. She was 86.

Mrs. Trusiani and her former husband, Paul Trusiani, opened Paul’s Food Center in 1975. Located at 585 Congress St., Paul’s was an institution in the city’s West End neighborhood for four decades. He ran the grocery store and she managed the 14 apartments above the store.

The Trusianis also owned a smaller building in Sebago with a grocery store and apartments, and a two-family house in Portland.
She was remembered Wednesday as strong, hard-working, independent and resilient.

Lisa Trusiani, the oldest of their four children, said her mother oversaw the renovations for all the apartments. She also did the cleaning and bookkeeping and everyone pitched in, she said.

“If I was home from New York visiting and someone had moved out … my sister, mother and I were in the apartment cleaning it. It’s just what we did,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Trusiani and her late husband were divorced, but remained business partners until his death in 2015. Their daughter said they were both committed to the community and to the clientele they served.

“They both had incredibly strong personalities,” she said. “There was always like a tug going on between them, but what they agreed on was how to treat people.”

In her early years, Mrs. Trusiani was a registered nurse. She worked in the delivery room at Mercy Hospital in Portland and later served as a health officer for Cumberland. She gave up her nursing career to raise her children.

Her daughter laughed Wednesday recalling the times she and her siblings would climb the bookcase to sneak a peek at their mother’s nursing books. She remembered carpools to swim meets, and singing and dancing to Broadway music. Trusiani also said her mother was an exceptional cook, who prepared meals for them every night.

Mrs. Trusiani generously gave back to the community. She was an active member of Holy Martyrs Church in Falmouth. She was in charge of the church bazaar and served on numerous church committees. She also served on the boards of Goodwill and the former Pineland Center for many years.

Paul Trusiani, “the king” of Paul’s Food Center, died in September 2015. Soon after, his family made the difficult decision to sell the building, marking the end of a downtown Portland institution after 40 years.

In June 2016, Mrs. Trusiani purchased a retail strip center at 374 Route 1 in Yarmouth, which includes a Chinese food restaurant, a yoga studio and nail salon. She founded, owned and operated A. Ross, LLC, a commercial real estate company.

Her daughter said she was an entrepreneur.

“It didn’t matter that she was 83 years old,” her daughter said. She was just going to go out there and do it again, this time without holding my father’s hand.”

A Mass in her honor will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Holy Martyrs Church in Falmouth. Her daughter said she will miss her mother’s presence.

“She was this powerful, stable force who was always there,” she said. “She always told us throughout our lives how much she loved us. As she got older, she said it everyday and with gratitude.”

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