Family and friends lost a “positive force” in their lives with the death of Iva Florence Thomas Fortner Peace. Most anyone who knew her can remember her positive words of encouragement. She died Sunday, September 8, 2013 after a long illness. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Eddie Burke, in Frankfort, since her husband’s death in July 2011. Florence and Bill Peace were married 22 years and lived in Burlington, KY. Born to Joe Everett and Rena Neal Thomas, March 29, 1926, in Means, KY. Florence was 4th of 10 children.
In addition to Papa Joe (1967) and Mama Rena (1989), two sisters and two brothers have preceded her in death: newborn Lula (1920), Ella Marie (2000), Melvin Clay (1988) and Raymond (2008). At the time of her death, Florence was the oldest living member of the Thomas family and had lived longer than any Thomas. She is survived by two sisters and three brothers: Clara Faye Marksberry (Marvin), Evelyn Sue Hegyvary (Csaba), James E. (Elaine Steers) Thomas, Calvin Eugene (Janet Evans) Thomas and Cecil Wayne (Janice Mitts) Thomas. Twenty-four nieces and nephews and numerous great-nieces and nephews survive Aunt Florence. Also, her only child, Linda Fay Fortner Burke, born to Florence and George Richard Fortner in 1946, survives, as well as several step-children. In the Peace family, four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. In the Burke family, one grandson (one deceased), four great-granddaughters and three great-great-granddaughters. In addition to “Neal” and “Thomas,” extended families include: Amburgey, Pelfrey, Shoemaker, Smallwood and Whitton.
When Florence was three years old, the family moved outside Winchester where they tenant-farmed. When she was 7, they moved to Grant County where they were able to buy their own farm near Four Corners. Florence attended the two-room school across the road and was graduated from Dry Ridge High School in 1944. As Army Cadet Nurse, Florence attended St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing. Before only a few months of completion, she was not permitted to graduate because she married. Nonetheless, her positive influence in health care was continued thru her daughter and two youngest siblings. Florence assured they were graduated from University of Kentucky after which they made contributions to maternal child health & public health in KY, national & international nursing and biomedical engineering. While living in Grant County, Florence was baptized into Clark’s Creek Christian Church.
At her death, she was a member of Lakeside Christian Church where she had been very active and coupled her activities with the Gideon Women’s Auxiliary. In Frankfort, she attended Highland Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, whenever possible. Also, Florence served as president of Grant County Women’s Club and president of Stewartsville Homemakers Club multiple times. She participated in community events anytime her help was needed.
As a Registered Medical Assistant & Registered Medical Secretary, Florence fulfilled duties for Dr. F. R. Scroggin for over 30 years. Many patients knew her kindness. At that time, she touched a large portion of Grant County’s families. Later, Florence worked for Rockwell International/Boeing where she earned the nickname “Inspector Number 12” for her precise management and exact inventory requirements. She retired from there in 1990. Since 2008, Florence participated in University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging’s study on Alzheimer’s Disease.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research or Hospice of the Bluegrass, Frankfort would be appreciated by the family. Florence’s words of encouragement will live forever: “Just do the best you can, go on and don’t worry about it!”
In Frankfort, visitation will be at Highlands Christian Church, 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, September 10. In Williamstown, visitation will be at Elliston-Stanley Funeral Home from 3-7 p.m., Wednesday, September 11. Funeral services will be at Elliston-Stanley Funeral Home in Williamstown, KY at 11 a.m., Thursday, September 12. Interment will be in Hill Crest Cemetery, Dry Ridge, KY. Florence will be buried in the Thomas plot along side Papa Joe, Mama Rena, Granny and Sister Marie. The family appreciates everyone’s prayers of love and support over the years. Thank you dearly.