Mertie Helms Carter
Mertie Helms Carter, age 86, of Niceville, Fla., went to be with her Lord on Feb. 8, 2002.
She was born on March 6, 1915, in Blue Springs (Covington County), Ala., to the late James Robert Helms and Audra Horne Helms. The family moved to Niceville in 1922.
Mrs. Carter was preceded in death by her husband, Zadoc (Zed) Sanders Carter; son, David; twin daughters, Bennie Joan and Billie Jeanne; brother, William Robert Helms; and granddaughter-in-law, Cindy Mesiner.
She leaves to cherish her memory her daughters, Betty J. Mesiner and husband Edward of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Mary C. Derrick and husband J. Charles of Jacksonville, Fla.; grandchildren, Thomas Mesiner, Tracy Mesiner and wife Gail, Timothy Mesiner, David Mesiner, Theresa Gast, Elizabeth Ingalls and husband Marty, Terris Mesiner and wife Connie, Steven Mesiner, Todd Mesiner and wife Mary, Charles (Chuck) Doughty, Lisa Roby and husband Marcus, Lindsay Derrick and wife Sheryl; 27 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; brothers and sisters, Joel A. (Jack) Helms and wife Helen, Ruby C. Brown, Clarice M. Boles, Mary C. (Dot) Reddick, Morris C. Helms and wife Carrol, C. Patrick (Pat) Helms and wife Jean; sister-in-law, Willine Helms; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and their families.
Mrs. Carter had always wanted to go to college, and that dream came true in 1960 when she enrolled at Pensacola Junior College. After graduating from PJC, she attended Florida State University and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in education in 1965 at 50 years of age. After graduation she began teaching sixth grade at Ruckel Junior High because Edge Elementary was overcrowded. The next year she moved to Edge and remained there for 17 years until her retirement in 1982.
Even after retirement she was seldom idle. She was a member of the Florida Retired Educators Association and first president of Okaloosa's south county chapter. For approximately 10 years she volunteered in the Twin Cities Hospital's gift shop (until June 2001). She traveled extensively with special trips to Israel, Germany, Austria, Hawaii and the Bahamas. In addition to her knitting, crocheting and tatting, she took classes in flower arrangement, miniature doll house and furniture making, painting, quilt making, weaving, basketry, and mastered the lost art of bobbin or pillow lace making.
She sustained a lifelong thirst for the scriptures and was a dedicated student. For many years she conducted Bible study classes for the homebound of her church, as well as faithfully teaching her regular Sunday class.
She was proud to have the distinction of being one of the original 333 signees on the petition to incorporate the City of Niceville.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the funeral home.
Services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Rosemont Baptist Church with Dr. Sharber Smith and the Rev. Gerald Reeves officiating. Mrs. Carter will lie in state at the church one hour prior to the funeral. Interment will follow in Rocky Memorial Cemetery. Her grandsons will serve as active pallbearers.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the Hospice workers, friends and extended family that provided comfort and care to them during Mrs. Carter's illness.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Covenant Hospice of Northwest Florida, 101 Hart St., Niceville, FL 32578; or to Rosemont Baptist Church, 1601 27th St., Niceville, FL 32578.
McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home, Niceville, is entrusted with arrangements.
Jon Zachery Carpenter
Jon Zachery Carpenter, a resident of Point Washington, Fla., passed away Saturday, Feb. 9, 2002, in Pensacola, Fla.
He was born in Greenville County, S.C., on Jan. 31, 1976. Mr. Carpenter loved art and music. He was Methodist by faith.
He is survived by his wife, Amy Carpenter of Columbus, Ohio; son, Isiah Z. Carpenter of Columbus; father and stepmother, Joe and Kathy Carpenter of Point Washington; mother, Donna Carpenter of Easley, S.C.; and brother, Joseph Austin Carpenter of Travelers Rest, S.C.
A memorial service was scheduled on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Point Washington United Methodist Church at 5 p.m. with the Rev. Tonya Elmore officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Point Washington United Methodist Church Building Fund, 1290 North Highway 395, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459.
Clary-Godwin Freeport Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
David Lee Knowlton
David Lee Knowlton passed away at Bay Pines Veterans Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2002.
He was born in Glens Falls, N.Y., on April 3, 1953, to Jean Chapin Knowlton and retired Chief Master Sgt. Rowland C. Knowlton.
Mr. Knowlton was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Milton and Mae Chapin; paternal grandparents, Gordon and Dorothy Knowlton; and mother, Jean Margery Chapin Knowlton.
He is survived by his father, retired Chief Master Sgt. Rowland C. Knowlton; stepmother, Cupadine Knowlton; brother, Tech. Sgt. James H. Knowlton of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; sister, Joan C. Dixon of Carrollton, Texas; three children: daughters, Nickie Jean Hopkins of Sikeston, Mo., and Tina Marie Barton of Doniphan, Mo., and son, Eric J. Babcock of Gulfport, Fla. Mr. Knowlton had five grandchildren in Sikeston and Doniphan.
Funeral and interment are pending.
Otis L. Wadsworth
Otis Leo Wadsworth, master sergeant retired, U.S. Army, age 72, of Crestview, Fla., went to be with the Lord from his residence in Crestview on Feb. 12, 2002.
Mr. Wadsworth was born in Smithville, N.C., on Nov. 25, 1929, to Jim and Leanoa Tyner Wadsworth and was a resident of the Northwest Florida area for the past 27 years. Mr. Wadsworth was a veteran of the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. He served his country for 23 years and was also the ROTC instructor at Crestview High School and Baker High School, and worked for the Okaloosa County school system for 20 years. He was a member of Red Oak Baptist Church in the Red Oak Community in Baker.
Survivors include his loving wife of 38 years of marriage, Fay Wadsworth of Crestview; son and daughter-in-law, Scotty and Jenny Wadsworth of Escambia Farms, Fla.; daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Kal Piggott of Crestview; brothers and sisters-in-law, James and Zelma Wadsworth of Raleigh, N.C., Jimmy and Mary Wadsworth of Princeton, N.C., and the Rev. Anthony and Betty Wadsworth of Richmond, Va.; sisters and brother-in-law, Shirley and Earl Willford of Goldsboro, N.C., and Barbara Wadsworth of Princeton; and grandchildren, Kaylee and Blake Piggott, and Ashley and Tyler Wadsworth.
A time of visitation will be conducted at Whitehurst Funeral Home on Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Funeral services will be conducted in the chapel of Whitehurst Funeral Home on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 10 a.m. with the Rev. Jerry Hutchinson officiating. Interment will follow the service in Red Oak Cemetery, with military honors.
Arrangements and services under the direction of Whitehurst Funeral Home, 436 West James Lee Blvd., Crestview.
Mattie Louise Day
On Monday, Feb. 11, 2002, God called Mattie Louise Day, age 76, home.
She was born in Bennetsville, S.C., and grew up in Cheraw, S.C. She worked for the American Red Cross at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for 10 years. She worked at Rockwell International in Columbus, Ohio, and retired from the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., branch after 25 years. She was a member of Stonybrook Methodist Church in Gahanna, Ohio.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, retired Maj. Edwin S. "Ed" Day; her loving parents, Paul and Mattie Hartley; and brother, Pete Hartley.
She is survived by her son, Dennis Carr of Niceville, Fla.; grandchildren, Landen Carr of Birmingham, Ala., Cassandra Osman of Columbus, Ga., and Josh and Tahnee Day of Niceville; great-grandson, Dalton Huckaby of Columbus; along with loving cousins, nephews and nieces; and many wonderful friends and neighbors.
Visitation will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, with a memorial service at 11 a.m. at McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home. Burial will be held in Cheraw on Saturday, Feb. 16.
McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home, Niceville, is in charge of arrangements.
Ann E. Retzel
Ann E. Retzel, age 63, of Laurel Hill, Fla., died Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002, at North Okaloosa Medical Center in Crestview, Fla.
Ann was born in Pike County, Ala., on June 3, 1938, and was a longtime resident of the Northwest Florida area. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Laurel Hill and had been a medical transcriptionist.
Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Louie Retzel; son, Kenneth L. Willis; and daughter, Deanna Willis.
Survivors include her parents, P.P. and Helen Cadenhead of Laurel Hill; son, Albert Dewayne Willis of Pensacola, Fla.; brothers and sisters-in-law, Terry and Krista Cadenhead of Marietta, Ga., Tim and Lisa Cadenhead of Rock Mart, Ga., and Kenny and Suzie Boswell of Millbrook, Ala.; sisters and brothers-in-law, Lucy and Jeff Wright of Laurel Hill, Charlotte and Don Davis of Griffin, Ga., and Kathy Jinright of Laurel Hill; grandchildren, Aaron D. and Christopher Ryan Willis, both of Pensacola; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A time of visitation will be conducted at Whitehurst Funeral Home on Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.
Funeral services will be conducted from the chapel of Whitehurst Funeral Home on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Ed Nichols and the Rev. Dr. Donnie Cadenhead officiating. Interment will follow the service in Almarante Cemetery in Laurel Hill.
Arrangements and services under the direction of Whitehurst Funeral Home, Crestview.
Michael S. Bigger
Michael S. "Mikey" Bigger, age 41, of Tampa, Fla., went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2002.
Michael was born in Merced, Calif., on Jan. 22, 1961. He was the youngest son of Jack and Gail Bigger of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He also leaves behind two brothers, Merle of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Mark and wife Tammi of Fort Walton Beach; and a sister, Cynthia of Fort Walton Beach.
Michael is survived by his wife, Kathy; and stepchildren, Jennifer, David and Timothy; and two grandchildren.
Michael was a 1981 graduate of Fort Walton Beach High School.
A memorial with family and friends will be held on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 11 a.m. at the Destin Bridge. Michael will be extremely missed by all.
Porter J. Kennedy
Porter J. Kennedy, age 72, of Navarre, Fla., surrounded by his loving family, quietly passed from this life on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2002, at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham, Ala.
Mr. Kennedy was born on Nov. 8, 1929, in Midland City, Ala. He proudly served his country with over 50 years of combined military and civil service. He joined the Army Air Corps on Sept. 20, 1946. After holding leadership positions in supply and warehouse supervision, he entered club management in 1962. He specialized in the club business as manager of various NCO and Officers' Clubs around the world. The awards and recognition he received are too numerous to mention. He was a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
After 27 years in the U.S. Air Force he retired in 1973 as a master sergeant at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., only to re-enter as a civilian in 1974. He arrived at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in 1981 as the Officers' Club manager and was promoted to the position of Business Activities Flight Chief in 1991. He faithfully served in that position with great skill and professionalism until Oct. 3, 1997, when he retired after 23 years.
His remarkable accomplishments have contributed to the morale of thousands of Air Force active duty and retired military, dependents and civilian service members over the years. He was a great credit to the entire U.S. Air Force. In addition to his outstanding military career, he was also a Mason and a Shriner, but will most be remembered for his faithful love and devotion to his children.
Mr. Kennedy was preceded in death by his father, Porter Graham Kennedy of Noma, Fla.; mother, Jeannie Mae Kennedy; and sister, Katie Nell Kennedy of Tallahassee, Fla.
He is survived by his four loving children, Roger Kennedy, Debra Kennedy (Kenny Francis), Sandy Early and husband Hugh, all of Niceville, Fla., and Ronald Kennedy and wife Tracey of Pace, Fla.; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Survivors also include his sisters, Sarah Boyd and Jackie Sego of Tallahassee; brother, Wayne Kennedy and wife Helen of Annapolis, Md.; and longtime friend, Callie Wood of Navarre.
Visitors will be received by the family from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home in Niceville.
Funeral services will be held at Niceville's First Assembly of God Church on Friday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m. Visitation will take place one hour prior to services. Mr. Kennedy will be put to rest in Heritage Gardens Cemetery, with full military honors.
McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home, Niceville, is entrusted with arrangements.
Jean (Broxson) Seifert
Jean (Broxson) Seifert passed away Feb. 10, 2002, into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior.
She was born in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Jan. 23, 1925.
Survivors include her son, Keith E. Broxson of Lakeland, Fla.; granddaughter, Paula of South Carolina; and grandson, Keith Calvin of Fort Walton Beach; sisters, Nellie B. Bostwick and Mary Polous of Fort Walton Beach, and Vivian B. Gilliam of Sarasota, Fla.
Mrs. Seifert was cremated, and a private memorial will be held at a later date.
Cynthia Leslie Hanley
Cynthia Leslie "Cindy Lou" Hanley passed away quietly in her sleep on Feb. 12, 2002, at her home.
She was born 40 years ago in Key West, Fla., and after migrating north she stopped in Tallahassee, Fla., where she attended Lincoln High School and Tallahassee Community College.
Survivors Harold C. Leslie and Winnie Leslie were her proud parents and staunchest allies; her brothers, Greg and Philip, and sister-in-law Shannon, were constantly being driven "crazy" by Cindy Lou - and wouldn't have had it any other way.
She met her husband Mike in Atlanta 13 years ago. They dated for two weeks and then were married. That was the luckiest day of his life.
She and Mike moved to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1990 and opened a small Buffalo Wing restaurant and were living happily ever after until her unexpected passing.
It's not hard to understand why she had so many family and friends who loved her because there never has been a more loving wife, daughter and friend. She was one-of-a-kind and she was our best friend. She woke up every day with a smile on her face and made sure to pass that smile on to those around her.
A memorial service will be held at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road, Fort Walton Beach, at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.
Interment will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. in Tallahassee Memory Gardens.