Mary Lavonne Batsell, a beloved wife, mother, grand-mother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother, died October 24, 2020 in Phoenix at age 95.
Mary was born on June 8, 1925 in Marlin, Texas, to Robert Lisle Justice, Sr. and Louise (Portele) Justice. A Sherman High School graduate, she married Harry Morece Batsell on February 19, 1944, a union that flourished for 56 years until Harry's death in 2000. The Batsell family moved from Texas to Arizona in 1955. In the early 1960s, Mary began working for the home furnishings/drapery division for Sears at Colonnade Mall. In 1974, when Sears opened at MetroCenter Mall, the company promoted her to division manager of Women's Fashion. She retired from Sears as a store division manager in 1978. Her adult friends called her Lavonne, but she was "Meema" to her grandchildren, who knew her West Phoenix home as a welcoming haven for warm hugs, home-cooked meals, swimming pool escapades and bountiful candy jars. Caring, devoted and generous, Mary always said she considered her family to be her greatest achievement.
Survivors include her sons, Mickey Batsell of Georgetown, Texas, and Gary Batsell of Colorado Springs, Colorado; her daughter, Debbie Skaggs of Howe, Texas; her brother, James Justice of Fort Worth; 16 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her daughter, Elizabeth Ann Richards; her brother, Robert Lisle Justice, Jr.; her sisters, Katherine White, Louise Crichton, Patsy Tamplen and Irene Barkhuff; and her son-in-law, Robert Skaggs Jr.
In a private ceremony, Mary was laid to rest near her husband and daughter at Holy Cross Cemetery in Avondale, AZ on Friday, October 30, 2020. The family plans to celebrate her life at a future memorial. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Mary's honor to the charity of your choice would be appreciated.
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Published in Austin American-Statesman on Nov. 1, 2020.
Harry Morece Batsell
1922–2000 (m. 1944)
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