Fort Myers Beach Icon Passes at Age 89


Lee Melsek shared the sad news with us last night that one of Fort Myers Beach’s longest running residents has passed away. AJ Bassett came to Fort Myers Beach in the 1940’s. Her mom was the principal at Beach Elementary.

Bassett had been the Historian at the Estero Island Historic Society for decades. She cataloged reams of island history, much if it damaged or lost in Ian.

AJ is pictured here with Lee.


  1. I went to school with AJ since the 7th grade and was on the swimming team with her. She was my classmate at Fort Myers High. We shared many memories. I loved Her and will miss her,

  2. She was indeed an amazing person and will be sorely missed as a family person (she loved her family), a historian, volunteer and an island advocate as well as a friend.

  3. I totally agree with all that Janet said! AJ was a family friend for many years and we are sorry to learn of her passing. She truly represented FMB as a source of local history and advocate for preserving the rich past. Hurricane Ian sadly took AJ’s own cottage. You will be missed AJ.

  4. The Estero Island Historical Society has a lost one of its founders and most dedicated Board members with AJ’s passing. She was more than our archivist and curator, by far. She was the face and driving force of the EIHS for visitors to the 1921-built historic cottage that is the EIHS museum; school kids from Beach Public School who came for holiday punch and cookies and first-hand local history lessons; passengers on the guided historical boat tours planned and narrated by AJ; and anyone with even a particle of interest in the history of Fort Myers Beach. AJ lived that history and she loved nothing more than to share it, with enthusiasm and wonder. We miss you and will always miss you, AJ.

  5. She was such a wonderful woman and so rich in history and love of FMB. It is a loss to the community. She will be greatly missed.

  6. So sad to learn about AJ. What an amazing woman. Her mother was my principal and her twin was my second grade teacher. AJ was a champion swimmer for Ft.Myers High in the 1950’s. Her heart was always at the Beach.


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