Virginia Hillyer, age 77, left this life to be with her Savior on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2002. She was born in Opelika, Ala., on May 12, 1924. Ms. Hillyer was a graduate of Beauregard High School in Opelika. She and her husband, Clifford, moved to Fort Walton in 1954 where they later owned and operated Southern Electric for over 30 years. They spent many joyful years traveling with the Gulf Coast Seagulls RV Club.
Ms. Hillyer was a member of Trinity Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach. At the time of her death, she was a member of the Creative Seniors and had previously been a member of the Golden Age Club. Many happy hours were spent enjoying her favorite hobby - playing bingo with her senior friends.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 48 years, Clifford Hillyer, Jr.; her grandson Clifton "Big Rick" Marshall of Pensacola; and sister Mable Gray of Opelika, Ala. Survivors include her son, Johnny and wife Rosemary of Fort Walton Beach; her daughter Brenda Crosby of Pensacola; grandchildren John and Ryan Hillyer, Michelle Howland, and Angel Beasley; brother-in-law Jack Gray; sister-in-law Martha Hillyer-Sharpe; sister-in-law Mavis Hepler; and five great grandchildren.
The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday at Emerald Coast Funeral Home. Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Emerald Coast. Interment will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery.
The family wishes to acknowledge its gratitude to Covenant Hospice of Northwest Florida for their tireless and loving care during Ms. Hillyer's battle with cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Covenant Hospice in Mrs. Hillyer's memory.
Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Rd. N.E., Fort Walton Beach, is directing.
Alma Claire Thompson
Alma Claire Thompson, age 93, passed away quietly Jan. 30, 2002, at Twin Cities Hospital in Niceville, Fla.
She was born to Inez (Wyckoff) and Waitman Snider of Flemington, W.Va., on July 24, 1908.
She is survived by three children, Donald (Ima) Thompson of Winter Park, Fla., Jo Ann (Jim) Davis of Niceville, and Dr. Larry (Sandy) Thompson of Sarasota, Fla.; sisters, Mary Lynch of Columbus, Ohio, and Maxine (Art) Strike of Chambersburg, Pa. She leaves eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Theodore "Ted" Thompson; an infant son, William; a daughter, Mary Ellen; a brother, Elton Snider; and a sister, Mildred Wyckoff.
She was a resident of The Manor at Bluewater Bay, where she received professional and loving care. She previously resided at Boyd Circle in Niceville, Madison, Ohio, and Astor, W.Va. She was Methodist by faith but found a large warm church family with the First Baptist Church of Niceville. She attended and enjoyed many clubs and activities while residing at Boyd Circle.
Alma was orphaned at age 12 and widowed at age 36, yet she lived a full life of giving and devotion to all those around her. She was always smiling. She will be greatly missed by her family and all who knew her.
Memorial services will be conducted at a later time at the Methodist Church and family cemetery in Astor, near where she was born and lived much of her life.
Thelma C. Cook
Thelma Calaway Cook died Sunday, Feb. 3, 2002, at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center of complications following a stroke.
Born April 11, 1907, in Beaver Center, Pa., she attended Ashtabula Business College in Ashtabula, Ohio, served as Deputy Clerk of Courts for many years, and retired in 1976 after serving 20 years with Buckeye Title Co. in Jefferson, Ohio.
Thelma was a 50-year member of Order of Eastern Star. She was Grand Ruth of Grand Chapter OES of Ohio and a member of Emerald Chapter OES. She was active in the Ladies Literary Class and the Jefferson United Methodist Church.
She moved to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., from Ohio in 1983 and was an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church, the Young at Heart Club, and Golden Age Club. She served as membership secretary of Trinity for a number of years during the 1980s.
Thelma is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Rolland G. Hull of Fort Walton Beach; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. John Bonner officiating. Burial will be in Jefferson at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church Building Fund, or to a charity of your choice.
Charles A. Hoffman
Lt. Col. Charles A. Hoffman, U.S. Air Force retired, age 80, of Niceville, Fla., died Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2002, at Eglin Air Force Base Hospital after a long illness.
He was a pilot and intelligence officer in Europe during World War II. After World War II, he served as an air intelligence attach� for numerous embassies throughout Europe. He also served at the Pentagon. He retired after 30 years of devoted service to the United States of America.
He was born in New York City in 1921. Mr. Hoffman and his family lived in Niceville since 1985.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Yonnie Hoffman of Niceville; sons, Charley Hoffman of New York, and Rob Hoffman of Lexington, Ky.; daughter, Lisette Lux of Houston; grandson, Morgan Lux; and granddaughter, Chloe Lux of Houston.
Visitation will take place from 10 to 11 a.m., with a memorial service at 11 a.m. at McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home, with military honors. A reception will follow at Eglin Golf Club.
McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home, Niceville, is in charge of arrangements.
William E. Spencer
William Earl Spencer passed away Feb. 1, 2002, in DeFuniak Springs, Fla.
He was originally from DeFuniak Springs and lived here for the past two years. Mr. Spencer had resided in Pensacola, Fla., for 17 years. He was a truck driver in the Waste Management industry. His greatest enjoyment came out of making people laugh.
He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Cassandra (Sam) Spencer of DeFuniak Springs; sons, Elijah Earl Spencer and Jacob Elliott Spencer of DeFuniak Springs; mother, Erma Jean Spencer of DeFuniak Springs; and brother, Raymond Spencer and wife Inez of DeFuniak Springs.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 3 p.m. at the chapel of Clary-Godwin Funeral Home, 230 Park Ave., DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435, with the Rev. Joel Glenn officiating. Burial will follow in Magnolia Cemetery.
A time of visitation will be held at Clary-Godwin Chapel in DeFuniak Springs on Tuesday for the family at 5 p.m. Friends of the family are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m.
Floral contributions are being accepted.
Clary-Godwin Funeral Home, DeFuniak Springs, is in charge of arrangements.
Frank E. Earley
Frank Eugene "Gene" Earley was born on July 3, 1950, and passed into the arms of Jesus on Feb. 2, 2002, to suffer no more pain on this earth.
He was the son of the late Roy Lee and Ola (Rushing) Earley.
Gene is survived by aunt, Myrtle Hall and Ben Earley of Pensacola, Fla.; uncle, Jr. and Sis Rushing of Niceville, Fla.; aunt Jane and uncle Al Kelley of Niceville; cousin, Susie and Lee Jones of Niceville; Jimmy and Mel Cooksey of Niceville; and Jerry and Lynn Smith of Pensacola. He is also survived by many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and many friends at Tucker Transportation in Pensacola.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at North Bay Baptist Church with Pastor Jerry V. Roberson officiating. The family will receive friends from 12:30 p.m. until service time at the church. Burial will follow in Earley Cemetery in Niceville.
The family graciously accepts flowers, or donations may be made to the Lupus Foundation in his memory.
Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is in charge of arrangements.
Matthew David Underdahl
Matthew David Underdahl, age 23, of Niceville, Fla., passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2002.
Matthew David was born on Jan. 26, 1979, in Toledo, Ohio, the son of John and Nancy Underdahl. He was baptized into Christ Jesus on March 25, 1979, at First St. John Lutheran Church, Toledo. His Godparents are Sandra Nance, Reed Clementson, Pastor Harold and Pat Buenting.
Matthew moved with his parents to Niceville when he was 6 months old. He attended St. Paul Preschool, Plew Elementary, Ruckel Middle School and graduated from Niceville High School. Matt was on the Ruckel soccer team and played on the "Niceville Force" PAL soccer traveling team for a number of years. He attended Okaloosa-Walton Community College and Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla.
Matthew loved architectural design and the simple beauty of nature. His goal was to be an architectural landscape designer. He remained committed to the Green Bay Packers, was a great fisherman, enjoyed debates on history, politics and theology with his father and others. Matt had so many good close friends and a mom, dad and brothers who enjoyed his fun-loving ways.
Matthew David made his public affirmation of faith in Jesus Christ on May 2, 1993, and now rests in Eternal Life by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
He is survived by his mom and dad; his two brothers, John and Mark; and maternal grandparents, Mike and Esther Nance of Elberta, Ala.; aunts and uncles, Sandra Nance Cole and son Hudson of Brentwood, Tenn., Michael Nance of Fairhope, Ala., Luvern Underdahl of Outing, Minn., Jerry and Maureen Underdahl of Venice, Fla., Ileen and John Johnson of Minneapolis, Barbara and Gene Rutherford of Bakersfield, Calif., Brice and Vi Underdahl of Boise, Idaho, Maxine Clementson of Minneapolis, Shirley (Mrs. Daryl) Westerfeld of Lancaster, Calif.; and a great host of cousins. Matthew was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Hans and Berthina Underdahl of Cannon Falls, Minn.
The Christian celebration of Matthew David's life will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 1:30 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Niceville with Pastor Frederick Reinke, Pastor Grace Torrance and Pastor John Underdahl officiating.
The Underdahl family will welcome friends in the St. Paul Parish Hall from noon until time of service on Wednesday.
Because Matthew loved architecture and helped dream with his father about the new sanctuary, we would invite memorials in Matthew David's name to the "St. Paul Building Fund."
Let us go in peace and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God!
Wilmar D. Tipton
Wilmar Douglas Tipton, age 85, passed away Feb. 5, 2002, in Monroe, La.
He was a retired master sergeant and a longtime resident of Crestview, Fla. His wife, Dorres Mae Tipton, preceded him in death.
A time of visitation will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday in the chapel of Whitehurst Funeral Home, with funeral services following at 2 p.m. Burial will be in Barrancas National Cemetery on Friday, Feb. 8, at 1:15 p.m.
Survivors are his daughter and son-in-law, Teresa Lee and Donnie Graves of West Monroe, La.
Whitehurst Funeral Home is in charge of services and arrangements.
Helen M. Morse
Helen M. Morse, age 96, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and formerly of Homer, N.Y., died Jan. 16, 2002, at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
She was born on Dec. 20, 1905, in Homer, the daughter of Ralph and Cora Hyson McConnell, and was a resident of Fort Walton Beach since 1964.
Helen was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach; member and past Noble grand of the Iolanthe Rebekah Lodge 146; and past district deputy president of the Cortland district.
She was also the past assembly Marshall of the Rebekah Assembly of New York; former member of the Pacesetters Club in Fort Walton Beach; founder and member of the Okwasa Ostomy Chapter 93 of Okaloosa County, Fla.; and member of the Florida Woodworkers Association.
Surviving is a son, Richard L. Morse of Mary Esther, Fla.; sisters, Mildred Adams of East Homer, Thelma Hiern of Cortland, Bessie McConnell of Virgil; granddaughter, Sherry Parnell of Ocean Springs, Miss.; cousin, Harriet Hicks of Cortland; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Her husband, Henry D. Morse, died in 1990.
Services were conducted Jan. 24 in the Donald L. Barber Funeral Home in Homer with the Rev. Matthew Smith officiating. Spring interment will be in Atwater Cemetery in Homer.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mrs. Morse's name may be directed to the American Cancer Society, Cortland County Unit, 57 Front St., Binghamton, NY 13905-4797; or to a charity of one's choice.
Little Chapel Funeral Home was in charge of local arrangements.
Jesse L. Stephens
Sgt. Maj. Jesse L. Stephens, U.S. Army retired, died Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002.
He was born in Salem, Fla., on July 10, 1937. He entered the U.S. Army in 1956. He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. He joined the elite group of Army Rangers and served as first sergeant at the Florida Army Ranger Camp. He was also a first sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 1st Brigade Airborne 1st Cavalry Division and 75th Rangers E Company. He was a member of Billory Baptist Church and had accepted Jesus Christ. He is now with our Lord.
He is survived by his wife, Alice Stephens, whom he married 44 years ago and remarried on Nov. 4, 2001; his son, James Stephens; daughter-in-law, Darlene Stephens of Arizona; daughter, Karen Stephens Ulman; and grandson, Stephen Ulman. He is also survived by Nicolas Stephens, Quenton Stephens, Noelle Stephens and Destiny Stephens; and sister, Ruth Stephens of California. He is remembered by numerous friends and family from Perry, Fla.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, at Billory Baptist Church, Highway 87, Navarre, Fla., at 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola NAS, at 2 p.m.
There will be a viewing on Thursday at Billory Baptist Church from 6 to 8 p.m.
Lewis Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.