Whiting store owner dies in fall

Posted Jan. 29, 2011, at 2:09 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 8:46 p.m.

WHITING, Maine — The owner of the Whiting Store died Friday after falling down a flight of stairs.

Judy Stevens, 55, lived above the store, which is located at the intersection of Routes 189 and 1. Her body was found about 9:30 a.m. Friday by an employee of the store.

Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said Saturday it is believed Stevens fell and died instantly sometime after 9 p.m. Thursday.

“It appears that she was going up the stairs and slipped and fell,” Smith said. “It appears that it was an accidental fall.”

It was believed she had been there about 12 hours before she was found, he said.

“This is a very tragic accident,” Smith said.

A Maine State Police detective was called to the scene as routine procedure, Smith said, but “there doesn’t appear to be any foul play involved.”

No autopsy was ordered.

Smith, who said he had known Stevens for many years, said she was well-known by the many travelers and residents who came into the convenience store and gas station.

“She was just a very nice person and was always friendly to everyone,” Smith said. “She is surely going to be missed.”

The store was closed Friday and Saturday. No one was available to comment on when it might reopen.

On Stevens’ Facebook page, which was adorned with a yellow rose rather than a personal photograph, dozens of friends left messages, speaking about her “unconditional friendship,” her great kindness and her “contagious smile” that “could light up a room.”

“Judy was just joyous,” Katherine Cassidy of Machias said Saturday. “We’ve all stopped to get gas at her store, in the interest of supporting her. Things were going well in her life — the store was making money, she had a new Roosevelt Park visitor center moving into the side of her building, and all was looking good for her. This is a tragedy.”

Stevens is survived by two sons.

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