Betty A. Fizell

SOUTH PORTLAND – Betty A. Fizell, 96, passed away on Feb. 19, 2021, at Coastal Manor after a brief illness with declining health. She lived, independently, at home with the help from her son Robert through 2017. She was celebrated by all for her fun loving, adventurous, and happy free spirit while she traveled, traveled and traveled some more.

Betty was born in Sault Ste Marie (SOO), Michigan on Oct. 12, 1924, being next to the youngest daughter, of 12 siblings, of James Babcock and Mary May (Sawasky) Lewis. She attended the Sault Ste Marie (SOO) Elementary School through the elementary grades when she quit school to go to work to help the family.

In her youth summers were spent roaming, bare foot, with cousin Della, staying for the season with Uncle Huey and Aunt Sophia Lewis, on Sugar Island, Michigan, in the middle of St Mary’s River. Idle time was watching the lake boats (lake freighters) pass – either up-bound or down-bound and hailing the ships’ captain for a horn blast.

She married Robert “Bob” Edward Fizell I, of Bayfield, Wisconsin, in 1948 in the SOO. Bob was a career military man serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring in South Portland, Maine. They raised five children during their military assignments in: SOO, Michigan; New York, N.Y.; Groton, Conn., and then South Portland, Maine, in 1957. Their five children traveled with them through the transfers, living in South Portland.

Betty’s work was family, staying active with all school activities, and Holy Cross Church. Loading the large family Pontiac station wagon, with her and neighbors’ kids for family picnics to big Sebago State Park; loading as many kids as could fit for a trip to the drive-in with the family with homemade popcorn and Kool-Aid. Her love was cooking and providing for family and anyone in need. Her hobbies were tending to her garden of pansies, glads, irises and lilies. She found, Jesus as her savior, as a communicant at Holy Cross Church. She sang for years in the choir and served, as needed, for the parish.

In her retirement, having no health issues, she was always on the go. If you found her at home, she was tending her garden, but it was a short visit and back on the road again. Traveling was her past time. She has traveled the world visiting Ireland, Alaska, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and Thailand. Cruised the Mediterranean, and Caribbean on several occasions. Her travels across the United States were non-stop from coast to coast. For about the last 30 years she would return to the SOO, spending three to six months every summer to fall staying with her lifelong friend, Phyllis Arnott, and cousins: Lucy “Cookie’ Hank and Delia McKerchie.

Betty was proud of, and always celebrated her father’s Native American Heritage with the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Nation and was one of the first to register for the ‘Tribal Roles’ when the Indian Land Claims Act was signed and the Tribe was organized. Returning each summer to attend the annual summer Pow-Wow watching nieces dancing in their hand-made ‘Jingle’ dresses and to visit family and friends from her youth. She was known there, at the tribal offices, as ‘The Ring Lady’ and welcomed in to show off and sell her boxes of rings. Her hobby of buying and selling rings for over 40 years. She had a jeweler’s ‘eye’ for real gems and stones which aided her buying and selling. Her antiquing was the best. It was not uncommon to come back from the SOO with a minivan loaded with collectables from her scavenging the yard sales and antique stores.

Betty was predeceased by both her parents; her siblings, Ellen Sterling McCrakin, Walter Sterling, Harry Sterling, Shirley Lewis Large, Francis Lewis Arnold, Margaret Lewis Trieschmann, Maybell Lewis McPherson, Edna Lewis Crowder, Marion Lewis Morrell, George Lewis, Robert Lewis, Alfred Lewis ; her husband, Robert E. Fizell I (1990).

She is survived by her children, Marion O’Connor, of Florida, Sharon Cooper, of Maine, Robert E. and spouse Tony (Romano) Fizell, Maine, Eugene and spouse Anna (Polvinen) Fizell of Maine, Bruce and spouse Wasi of Florida. Betty was blessed with 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren as well as many nieces, nephews and especially Linda Palsky, Pa.; Bonnie Bright, Mich.; Clyde Morell, Va.; Donald Hank, Mich.; Leon Arnold, Mich.; Arthur Arnold, Wis., and special friends, Donna Arnott Rogers and Gloria Arnott Atkins. The family gives the greatest “Thank You” to the staff of Coastal Manor Home, Yarmouth, for their nurturing and attentive care.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions a private family Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Church, South Portland. A graveside service will be held in the spring at the Maine Veteran’s Cemetery, Augusta, Maine.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 1024 Broadway, South Portland, Maine, To view Betty’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit

Those who wish may make contributions in Betty’s memory to: Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland,

PO Box 336,

Westbrook, ME 04092 or or the American Cancer Society,

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