Florence Audrey Williams was born March 5, 1925 in Danville, Illinois. She was born from the union of the late Ernest Williams and the late Lorna (Mawhiney) Williams. She attended Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Missouri.
Florence married Ernest W. Schlecht on February 17, 1945 at the First Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Flo and Ernie embodied a fairytale union, made complete after 13 long years of waiting, with the birth of their only child, Lorna.
Florence valued her family above all else. She was inarguably the matriarch of the family. She strove to keep her family connected and served as the ‘hub’ for all important communication. Florence always stressed the importance of family history and good ol’ fashioned handwritten letter.
As a professional woman, Florence knew the importance of dressing for success. Her beauty was recognized from an early age as a model. She was a proud American and used her modeling opportunities to give back to her country selling war bonds as the reigning ‘Miss Goldbond’ in Cleveland, Ohio. Florence challenged a male-dominated workforce and for many years she was self-employed in the fashion industry working as a tradeshow coordinator. Florence was the first woman to serve as a road representative. She earned the nickname of “The Bull”, known for being very stubborn, independent, and powerful. She followed her own set of rules and unapologetically carried herself as a leader and a lady; and never without her lipstick.
Florence’s leadership extended to other parts of her life as well. She valued her faith in God and attended the First Presbyterian Church in Monroe, serving as a ruling elder, deacon, and multiple ministries. She was proud to assist in coordinating the very first Miss Monroe Pageant; She served as a lifetime member of the Thrift Shop Association and Scholarship Fund where she had volunteered for forty-five years and served as Past President; served as a lifetime member of the Sawyer House; past Campfire leader; and member of the Eastern Stars.
Florence enjoyed traveling, particularly when accompanied by her travel companions, Lesley and Shirley. Her favorite locations: Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Israel, Puerto Rico, and Cuba to name a few. She enjoyed opera, theater, music, classic cars, planes, and a great appreciation for architecture. Above all, she cherished quality time with her ‘four-generations’; her daughter, grand-daughter, and great granddaughters.
Florence, age 91, of Monroe passed away unexpectedly on May 26, 2016 at Promedica Toledo Hospital. In addition to her parents and husband she was preceded in death by: a brother: Larry Williams and her cherished sister: Barbara Strecky-Voltrian.
To cherish her memory, Florence leaves her beloved daughter and granddaughter: Lorna “Lori” Schlecht of Monroe and Stephene Evans of Walbridge, Ohio; two great grandchildren: Kennedy Florence Evans and Scotlynn Cynthia Evans; a brother: William “Bill” Strecky of Edwardsville, Illinois; and many close friends and family members.
Friends may gather on Friday, June 3, 2016 from 11:00am-5:00pm at Merkle Funeral Service, South Monroe; 14567 South Dixie Highway (734)241-7070. A Celebration of Her Life will follow at 5:00pm also at Merkle’s with Pastor Annemarie Kidder of First Presbyterian Church officiating. Family would like to extend an invitation to luncheon and fellowship immediately following the service at The First Presbyterian Church of Monroe.
Memorials for those who desire are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe, The Thrift Shop of Monroe Scholarship Fund, or The Salvation Army. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort by visiting www.merklefs.com; Online Tributes page.
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