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Beloved Avon Lady Was Victim of Allentown Blast

Beatrice and Bill Hall recalled as friendly, smiling neighbors.

Friends and neighbors are mourning the loss of the Avon Lady among five people who died when two Allentown homes blew up Wednesday night.

Firefighters were still dousing flames an hour after the blast when bystanders started saying they feared one victim was the Avon Lady – Beatrice Hall.

Hall and her husband Bill lived on the corner of 13th and Allen streets “forever,” said neighbors Bill and Dotty Yanett.

 The Yanetts recalled their neighbors as friendly – always waving or stopping to chat – and active in Salem United Methodist Church, just a few blocks away from their home.

Janet Gibiser of South Whitehall knew Hall mainly from socializing with her at Avon-related events along with her sister Sue, who is also a sales representative for the cosmetic company.

“I’ve known Bea for, oh gosh, eight or 10 years,” Gibiser said. “She was a real hard worker for Avon. She had a really bubbly and enthusiastic personality.”

Sue Gibiser was too distraught to speak further with Patch concerning the loss of her Avon colleague.

Shawn Henry of Allentown recalled his mother, Kathy, spent a lot of time with Hall through the years. “She used to walk with her a lot through the neighborhood,” Henry said.

Kathy Henry knew Hall for more than 15 years . She said she was struck by the pride Hall took in her appearance.

"She always looked so good. She always has her hair done. She represented Avon immensely and with such pride," Hall said. "So many times, several years ago, she was in my house and we'd do the chit chat, gossipy thing."

Hall said she hadn't purchased Avon products in several years, but ran into Hall about two and a half weeks ago at Ahart's Market.

"I still can't believe it," she said. "I only just saw here. She'll definitely be missed."

The Rev. James Anderman, pastor of Salem United Methodist Church, said the Halls were "a compatible pair," with Beatrice being the talker and Bill being the silent one. She was in the choir too.

Both were active in the church, helping with its food pantry twice a month. Beatrice was welcoming, and she would engage the people who came to the pantry, learning their needs, he said.

"She was the most talkative person. She was the sales person," Anderman said.

Bill was often the face at the entryway, letting people inside.

Salem United Methodist Church had planned a Valentine's Day dance for Friday night. But given the deaths and the number of church members displaced by the explosion, Anderman said, he now plans a service of remembrance and hope for the community at 7 p.m. on Friday. 

Jenae Holtzhafer February 11, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Bea was a dedicated Avon Lady for sure. She and her husband were just at the Avon sales meeting last night, doing their duties to help the district sales manager by selling raffle tickets and carrying boxes of Avon demos. This is a loss not only to the community, but also to Avon. She was one of our stars and will be missed.
Donna Gerhart February 11, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Bea was very enthusiastic at our Avon meetings. She hasn't been to many of the evening meetings lately since we started the morning meetings. Bill and Bea usually went to the morning meetings to avoid driving at night. She was always willing to give suggestions on selling certain Avon products. Bill was always with her at any Avon event whether it was the Presidents Club dinner or an Avon picnic. They will certainly be missed by her Avon friends.

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