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Sat, Aug. 24

Obituary: Josette Lise Arvey

Josette Lise Arvey was born Oct. 13, 1929, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and died on March 15, 2019, in Prescott, Arizona.

In 1948, she left Switzerland and traveled by boat from Marseilles, France, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There she took a position as a graphic artist and fashion photographer for Standard Propaganda, S.A. — the agency representing Helena Rubinstein Cosmetics in Brazil. In 1950, she met Edwin A. (Bud) Gourley, a Life Magazine photographer, whom she subsequently married in Miami, Florida, in 1952. They had one son, Douglas A. Gourley, born in 1956. She later married Dr. Martin Dale Arvey, chairman of the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

For more than 50 years, Josette pursued her career in graphic arts, technical illustration and, finally, as a highly successful painter. Her subjects were a global myriad of flora and fauna and she enjoyed wide recognition for her Flower Alphabet, which was licensed and imaged onto plates, mugs, napkins and a variety of other media for nearly three decades. However, her true passion lay in the precise rendering of birds and flowers, particularly orchids, from every corner of the world. She lived in Switzerland, France, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador and the USA (Nevada, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Hawaii and Arizona).

She gave freely of herself to the communities in which she lived; serving as a Spanish and French tutor, a Big Sister, a docent at the Museum of Northern Arizona, a volunteer for Meals On Wheels and a donor of art to various charitable and educational institutions.

She was a true Renaissance woman: intellectual, polyglot, mother, bridge player, skier, kayaker, hiker, inveterate traveler, animal lover, a nearly invincible Scrabble aficionado and an all-around adventurer.

Josette is survived by her son, Douglas A. Gourley of Bradenton, Florida.

A private ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 21, to spread Josette’s ashes on her favorite hiking trail in Sedona, Arizona. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Heritage Memory Mortuary. Please visit to sign Josette’s online guestbook.

Information provided by survivors.

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