Esther Jones Bissell, 82, passed away peacefully May 7, 2011, at Penobscot Bay Medical in Rockport. She and her husband, Roy Heisler, were longtime residents of Vinalhaven. Since 2005, Esther had been in assisted living at Windward Gardens in Camden. The family is grateful for the attentive care she received during her stay.

Esther was born in Philadelphia, Pa., the daughter of Edward M. and Esther Holmes Jones. She attended Quaker schools, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1950. After college, she married Robert Bissell of Cleveland, Ohio. The couple had two children, Alice and Ted. For many years, Esther was the owner/operator of the Edward Morris Jones Co., which made and sold school emblem jewelry. Esther moved back to Philadelphia in the early 1960s and became involved in local community and political affairs. She ran the Junior League Outgrown Shop and served as a delegate to the 1972 Democrat National Convention. She was a member of Green Street Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Esther and her husband, Roy Heisler, moved to Vinalhaven in 1975. They embraced their new community, and Esther enjoyed cooking and gardening. In 1978, with no experience in the restaurant business, they opened The Haven Restaurant and Esther became its chef. The Haven became well known for its good food and comfortable atmosphere. It was a fixture of island life: generations of islanders and visitors worked and dined there. Although Esther and Roy retired from The Haven in 1991, the restaurant continues today.

Esther was devoted to serving her community. For several years after retiring, she cooked for Meals-on-Wheels, and initiated the Elderly Ride Program. From 1991 to 2003 she and Roy were volunteer co-directors of the Vinalhaven Historical Society, and shepherded the museum to a level of excellence widely recognized locally and throughout Maine. A highlight for Esther was producing Vinalhaven Island, a popular photographic history.

Esther is survived by her husband, Roy Heisler; her daughter, Alice Bissell and husband, Stephen Rosen, of Vinalhaven; her son, Edward “Ted” Bissell and wife, Joan “Joni,” of Mill Valley, Calif.; and five grandchildren, Emma and Sam Rosen, and Owen, Evan and Eric Bissell.

An outdoor memorial service will take place Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. at the Lane’s Island Nature Conservancy on Vinalhaven. Contributions in Esther’s name may be made to the two community organizations in which she was most involved: The Vinalhaven Historical Society and Vinalhaven Eldercare Services for the Meals-on-Wheels program.