Cmdr. Harry Kaiserian Jr., U.S. Navy (retired), has died at home, in Castine, surrounded by loved ones.

A memorial reception will be held Saturday, March 9, at the Manor Inn in Castine, between 3 and 6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the organizations that he loved.

Harry was born in Asbury Park, N.J., in 1938 to Harry and Alice (Fermanian) Kaiserian. He attended Monmouth College, where he met his wife Berna, and after graduation he entered the U.S. Navy as an ensign.

He spent most of the first part of his surface warfare career at sea. He received an MBA from Roosevelt University, attended the U.S. Naval War College and served on the joint Chiefs of Staff. His 26-year career took him around the world to Greece, Italy, South Korea and much of the U.S. In 1984, he came to Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, as the professor of Naval Science, and he continued on as Registrar after his retirement from the Navy. Harry had specifically requested Castine for his last Naval appointment, as he was drawn to the idea of a small town community. He lived more years here than anywhere else. Maine, and Castine in particular, became home, and the people of Castine became his extended family. He was active in many local organizations: serving on the boards or the Friends of the Witherle Library, Bagaduce Ambulance Corps, Wilson Museum, Belfast Senior College, and Castine Men's Club.

His main passion in life was cooking and sharing meals. While in the Navy he and Berna involved themselves in the communities of the places they lived, and learned the regional cooking styles of the people they met. Harry brought these experiences with him to Maine: he loved writing and educating others about food, delighting guests with extravagant meals, and sharing his love of culinary delights with the world. Teaching people to cook was his favorite way to socialize — he regaled many students at MMA, Adams School, George Stevens Academy and Belfast Senior College with colorful food and tales. He often provided a taste from home for international students. For 32 years, he engaged many readers of the Penobscot Bay Press with his collected recipes and the stories that accompanied them, which resulted in his published cookbook “K’s Kwisine.” For Harry, food was community, and it was his way of keeping his family and friends close.

Harry is survived by his wife Berna; daughter Alice, of Vancouver, British Columbia; son Harry, daughter-in-law Kelly, of State College, Pa.; grandchildren Janee Madden, Xavier, and Miles; and second daughter (by-choice) Mamie Stevenson Dean. He is also survived by his brothers Vincent and John; sister-in-law Carol; cousins James Halajian and Edward Kaiserian; and numerous nieces and nephews who adored him, even through all of “Uncle Harry’s Slideshows.”

Harry wore many hats and went by many names: MMA grads will remember him as Commander Kaiserian, and others will know him as “Sir” which started in jest and continued on as his grandpa name. Harry felt that he’d had the most fortunate life: a wonderful crazy family, immediate and extended; amazing friendships; an eventful career; a life full of travel and great food. But mostly, he was always surrounded by people he loved. His ability to see joy and wonder in everyone and everything — and his desire to share those things with everyone he met — will be greatly missed.

In Harry’s own words: “It always amazes me that love is never listed among the ingredients of a recipe. It is the thing that, more often than not, makes the difference between a good meal and a great meal.”

Thank you to everyone who touched his life, he believed that it is the people we know who make the lives we live so meaningful.