CONWAY - Florence E. Hassell, 97, of 101 Bond St., died Monday, June 24, 2013, in the Vernon Christian Advent Home.
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Born in Arlington, N.Y., July 20, 1915, she moved to Conway, with her mother, Minnie (Flagg) Tenney, after her father Charles died in 1927.
Flo attended Conway Grammar School and graduated Pro Merito from Arms Academy in 1934.
She was married to Galen H. Hassell on June 19, 1935 and they lived in Conway all of their married life.
Flo was predeceased by her husband, Galen (1985); sister, Dorothy Sayles (1980) and daughter, Carolyn Herr (2008).
She is survived by four children, Carolyn (Eugene), Stephen (Cynthia) Dennisport, MA, Linda (Robert) Wirth, Round O, SC, and Jennifer (Robert) Coliskey, Conway; eight grandchildren, Robert (Jane) Trombi, Gina (David) Sekula, Sharon (Daniel) Bohannon, Corina (Michel) Hauber, Jason (Trisha) Wirth, Kristen (Greg) Stark and Nathan and Ryan Hassell; 11 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
Flo loved gardening, whether it be vegetables or flowers. She would come home from working in the tobacco fields, fix dinner for her family and go right to her garden and enjoy it until it was too dark to continue. She loved to take walks down Emerson Road to the brook and behind ""Mr. Hamilton's"" property to the South River and ALWAYS took her dog with her for company and a pair of garden clippers. She would come home with some wildflowers or wild blackberries or sometimes hold up her garden clippers and say, ""I saved a tree from those blasted wild grapevines.""
Flo was an active member of the United Church of Conway for over 50 years. She sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, was on the Executive committee, pastoral search committee and was very proud to have been the first woman Deacon at the church.
Flo assisted Iona Lincoln in sewing costumes for Conway's Bicentennial's production of Archibald MacKleish's, ""Evening Journey to Conway Massachusetts"" and a member of the parade committee. For several years, she was an assistant costumer for Arena Civic Theatre's production. One in particular in which she was on stage, playing the character of Old Sally, in OLIVER.
Flo and Galen enjoyed square dancing and became very active members of the Swinging Sweethearts. After she retired from Hardigg Industries in 1977, they camped around the United States from September to April (with their dog Bingo) and attended dances at Square Dance clubs along the way. Vacations were most often camping in State Parks or at the beach. On one occasion, Galen packed up the car and met Flo after work. They arrived at the campground and discovered he'd packed the big tent with the small tent poles. She often said ""Life with Galen was never dull, but it was certainly and experience.""
Flo loved children and was a very popular baby sitter in Conway. She was ""Gramma Flo"" to more than her children's children. She also became a caregiver to several older women (some younger than she) and would drive them to their appointments or grocery shopping.
There are no adequate words to express our gratitude to the wonderful, wonderful people at Vernon Advent Christian Home for the kind and loving care and respect they have given mom.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 28, 2013, at the Wrisley Funeral Home Chapel at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Candi Ashenden officiating. There will be a visitation at 1 p.m. until the time of the service. Burial will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery in Conway.
In lieu of cut flowers and to keep her memory alive, the family is requesting live arrangements or donations to the United Church of Conway Renovation Fund, the Vernon Advent Christian Home Activities, 61 Greenway Drive, Vernon, VT, or Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.
Expression of sympathy available at: www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com.
Wrisley Funeral Home
90 Sugarloaf Street
South Deerfield, MA 01373
Published in The Recorder on June 26, 2013