Alys Van Orsdell

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 12:00pm

Alys Van Orsdell was a wonderful Mother, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Grandmother, Colleague, and Friend. Anyone with her felt comfortable right away because of her warm, welcoming spirit and her captivating smile. Alys had a genuine gift and ability to affect others in a way that made each person feel at ease, no matter who it was. She taught us that each and every single one of us mattered. She showed us how easy it was to take the time to be courteous, helpful, and kind, always. Often words weren't necessary because her warm smile said it all. What a truly amazing person Alys was, and what an honor it is to be her daughter.

Alys grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a wonderful family neighborhood called Westgate Hills. It is where she was raised along with her beloved sister Marianne, (Deedy as we called her) by her amazing parents, Elma and Jaye Wriggins. When she graduated from Haverford High School, she attended the University of Pennsylvania and earned a BS degree in journalism. It was there that she met and married the love of her life, our father, John Van Orsdell. Together they had two daughters, Dana and Lisa who they adored. John was the "one" she'd say and the only one she ever loved. She deeply cherished our father and together, they had a long, and wonderful marriage and loved each other so much. Their love was a blessing for them, and for all of us to witness. Today, Alys is with John, and she is happy and at peace, which is why we are celebrating her life and not grieving - Alys is smiling again! Although we are very sad and will miss her here with us, We thank God, knowing that she is at peace and happy once again.

Alys enjoyed working and was incredibly good at it. She was the director of the YWCA in Northeast Pennsylvania along with a large branch in Frankford, PA for many years. It was quite a daily commute to and from the west side of the city to the northeast, but she never complained and honestly enjoyed watching people and singing along the way, she had an amazing voice. She enjoyed her job and most certainly, the many people that she worked with throughout her career. Alys was always on the radar of the YWCA administrators and was regularly approached about taking a position closer to home. When she agreed, she chose the Landsdowne, Pennsylvania YWCA and all were delighted, except, of course, all that she left in the Northeast! She was the executive director for several years until she decided that it was time for a change. She moved with our dad to Boothbay, Maine in 1989, and soon after, our family followed. Undeniably, Maine is a spectacular place to be! She spent many years continuing to work of course but enjoyed coming home to her beautiful house on Knickerbocker Lake. How she loved the still nature of Boothbay. She would sit on the deck any time of the year and relax, listening to the sounds that were near and far and thoroughly enjoying every second, just appreciating the sheer beauty that surrounded her.

Alys loved her life. She loved her family dearly and cherished her friends and certainly, her many pets. She appreciated everyone and loved them all. Alys was an incredibly beautiful person, inside and out. She was happy and loving all of her life. She touched the lives of many and has left us with an incredible gift. The wonderful moments she shared, the laughter, and the tears will forever be her legacy to all who were blessed to know her, our incredible Mother, Alys Van Orsdell.

Alys passed away Aug. 23, 2022. The family will honor Alys with a memorial service on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Pine Point Beach in Scarborough.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Alys’s name to the Lincoln Arts Festival, P.O. Box 391, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538.

Hall’s of Boothbay has care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences, light a candle for Alys or to share a story or picture, visit their Book of Memories at