Avis's Story

ST. PETERSBURG - Avis J. Haskell passed away peacefully in her sleep at age 98 in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 23, 2014.

She was born in Massachusetts, the daughter of Harold and Leona Johnson, and the sister of Harold "Jerry" Johnson Jr. who have since predeceased her. Avis fondly recalled spending many happy childhood summers on Vinalhaven, Maine. Following her high school graduation, she won the Golden Voice of New England and received a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music. She was employed as a jewelry buyer in Boston for several years, and was active in local theater groups, where she met and married her husband Arnold O. Haskell of 37 years. They raised two children in Quincy, and returned to Deer Isle, Maine every summer for vacation beginning in 1946. Avis sang in the Hough's Neck Congregational Church choir, taught Sunday School, was a Girl Scout leader for 15 years, and taught evening adult ball point painting classes for 5 years in 5 Massachusetts schools. She and Arnold moved back to his boyhood home of Deer Isle in 1971 upon his retirement. Widowed in 1983, she moved to Florida to care for her mother. In St. Pete she continued performing in operas, dinner theaters, and musicals. An avid ballroom dancer, Avis volunteered for many years at the Coliseum Big Band Dances. She returned every summer to Deer Isle until 2007. Avis will be especially remembered for her infectious optimism and generous heart. Many may remember her seemingly endless energy, and too many activities to list. She is survived by daughter Val Haskell of California, son Mark Haskell of Florida, nephews Hal and Bob Johnson of Texas, and niece Susan Molino of Arizona. Burial will be at Hillside Cemetary in Sunset, Maine. A memorial service at the Deer Isle Congregational Church is pending.
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