Stell's Story

Stell Shevis, born Mildred Estelle Beehner (a name which she hated), died peacefully in her sleep on July 14, 2016.

Her last weeks were spent in the company of close friends and family, celebrating her birthday, continuing to create art, and enjoying tea and conversation. Stell was a well-known and prolific artist along with her husband, William Shevis.

Stell was born July 1, 1915, in Hartford, CT, to Mildred and George Beehner. She was the oldest of four girls. She loved to tell stories about her childhood, especially remembering how her mom made their clothes and did all the ironing for four girls with a gas iron, "Imagine!"

Stell began painting when she was 10 years old and never stopped. She met her husband, William Shevis, at the Massachusetts College of Art. They were married for almost 75 years and raised four children while making their living as artists on the coast of Maine. They produced woodcut and silkscreen prints for a variety of commercial purposes. When she retired from printmaking, Stell took up enameling. She was a master enamelist. Her work has been exhibited in nine international enameling shows. She taught numerous workshops, wrote several articles for trade publications, and produced instructional DVDs.

She made a significant contribution to the mid-coast art scene. She was a founding member of Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle and the Maine Coast Artists, now the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. She was a mentor to many young artists. For 40 years, she was one of the Nine Lively Ladies, a painting group which continues to exhibit their work at Alvin Chase's Garage Gallery.

Stell was filled with a zest for life and a passion for art, beauty, and friendship. When not in her studio, Stell could be found in the company of good friends, reading a good book, making hats for Scarborough Food pantry, or the solitude of her garden. Later in life, she began writing her memoirs with the support of her writing group. She extolled a healthy life style. Her three rules for a long life: 1. Do your exercises every morning. 2. Stay away from sugar, its poison, and 3. Have a thimble full of bourbon once in a while. She will be remembered as a generous, loving, creative, energetic, and inspiring soul who had a knack for making friends feel like family and surrounding herself with the same.

Stell is survived by her four children, Jennifer Hornaday, Alan Shevis, Suzi McCarthy, Liane Giambalvo and their spouses, nine grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, William Shevis; and grandson, Harry Shevis.

The family would like to thank her many dear friends for their love and camaraderie which kept her so vital all these years. The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Carol Lee Mason of PALS for the loving care that she gave Stell. We would also like to thank Maine Home Health and Hospice.

Services will be private. Memorial gifts may be made in Stell's memory to Center for Maine Contemporary Art, P.O. Box 1767, Rockland, ME 04841, or the The Enamelist Society, P.O. Box 920220, Norcross, GA 30010.

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Published in Bangor Daily News
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