WINTER HAVEN
Obits - 3
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>DORIS KITCHENS SILER – 88 - Polk Co. School Board 
WINTER HAVEN - Doris Kitchens Siler, passed away March 28, 2015. She was born November 21, 1926, in Winter Haven, FL the daughter of Robert Kitchens and Mattie Mills Kitchens. She worked for the Polk County School Board, also as an Administrative Assistant for the Polk County Property Appraiser's Office and a faithful caregiver to her husband.  >In addition to her parents, Doris was preceded in death by her husband, Samuel B. Siler, Jr.  >She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Joy and Charles Spencer; granddaughter, Kaley Tomasky; grandson, Samuel Tomasky; and siblings, Annette Breitenbach of Lakeland, Betty Scott of Panama City, Carlene Smith of Defuniak Springs, Cecil Kitchens of Winter Haven, Richard Kitchens of Lakeland and Robert Kitchens of Winter Haven. Visitation is Tuesday, March 31, 2015, from 2-3 pm with funeral services at 3 pm, both at Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, Winter Haven. – Ledger, March 30, 2015
 > Her husband is buried in Auburndale Memorial Park
>SAMUEL B. SILER, JR. – 78 – Polk Co. Health Dept.
WINTER HAVEN -- Mr. Samuel B. Siler Jr. of Winter Haven died of complications of rheumatoid arthritis Monday (March 8, 2004) at Good Shepherd Hospice. He was born in Chatham County, N.C., on Feb. 8, 1926, he came to Winter Haven in 1957. He retired from the Polk County Health Department. He graduated from Stetson University in Deland. He was a staff sergeant in the Army Air Corps and a veteran of World War II, in which he served as an aerial gunner in the European Theater. He received the Air Medal and five battle stars. He was a former member of Southside Baptist Church where he served as a deacon. He was a member of Faith Baptist Church.  >  Mr. Siler is survived by his wife, Doris K. Siler; daughter, Joy L. Tomasky, Winter Haven; sisters, Rosalie Clower, Largo, and Edith Simpson, Homosassa Springs; and two grandchildren. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 tonight at Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, Winter Haven. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in Auburndale Memorial Park. – Ledger, March 10, 2004
>STEPHANIE MADAUS BLANCHARD – 57 -
WINTER HAVEN - Stephanie 'Steph' M. Blanchard passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 28, 2015, from complications of Acute Myeloid Leukemia at St Joseph Hospital in Tampa and is at peace with the Lord. Steph was born November 15, 1957, in Jefferson City, MO., the second of four children to Jeanie and Dick Madaus. She came to Winter Haven in 1962 and graduated from Winter Haven High School in 1975, and lived here all her life.   She married Larry L. Blanchard, July 26, 1980, and they have two children: Max (Jessica) and Molly (Frank Brown) and one grandchild, Carter, who survive. She is also survived by her siblings, Cindy Barnes, Winter Haven, Rick (Karine) and Scott (Shellie) of Augusta, GA, and several nieces and nephews.
 Stephanie and her husband owned and operated Larry's Amoco and Wrecker Service in Winter Haven and worked there until being diagnosed with Leukemia in the fall of 2014. She was a life long member of Hope Presbyterian Church in Winter Haven, and a Deacon.  A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at Hope on Saturday, May 30, 2015 and reception immediately after the service in McGrath Hall. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made in her name to Hope Presbyterian Church, 2110 Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Winter Haven, FL, 33884, or Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 USF Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL, 33612. Condolences may sent to the family at kerseyfuneralhome.com. – Ledger, May 30, 2015
>KELLY OWENS COOLIDGE – 55 -    Ledger, May 30, 2015
LAKELAND - Kelly Owens Coolidge, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, May 28, 2015. She was born in Winter Haven, Florida, and moved to Lakeland at the age of 21. She was a graduate of Winter Haven High School. Kelly was married to her husband, Brian Coolidge, on July 3, 2006, and she and Brian enjoyed many wonderful years together caring for their animals, friends, and family. > She was preceded in death by her brother, David Tidwell. > She is survived by her husband, Brian Coolidge, her son and daughter in law, Cameron and Maria Root, her granddaughter, Mackenzie Root, her mother and step-father, Corbett and Patsy Tidwell, her father and step-mother, Buck and Sharon Owens, her brothers and sisters in law, Michael and Tonia Owens and Kenneth and Donna Tidwell, along with many nieces, nephews, and loving friends. A celebration of life service will be held at Trinity Life Church of God on Saturday, May 30, 2015.
>SHERRIE HAMBY BAXTER – 57 – Coder at Lakeland Regional Medical Center
WINTER HAVEN - Sherrie Hamby Baxter passed away on January 30th, 2016 at her home in Winter Haven, Fl. She was born February 9th, 1958 in Sumter, SC to Harold & Xenia Hamby. Sherrie was the oldest of three children. She graduated from Auburndale Senior High in 1976. She also attended Polk State College, where she received her medical coding certificate in 2006. >Sherrie married Benjamin (Benny) Baxter, Jr. April 1st, 1988 in Bartow, FL. They were married 27 years. She was employed by Lakeland Regional Medical Center as a coder 2.  She started working there in 2006, following her graduation from PSC. She worked at Winter Haven Hospital for 10 years prior to that as a Health Unit Coordinator. >Sherrie is survived by her husband Benjamin (Benny) Baxter, Jr. of Winter Haven, FL, her father, Harold Hamby of Polk City, FL, brother, Harold Hamby, Jr. (Sue), Winter Haven, FL, sister, Debbie Jackson (Kent), Winter Haven, FL, nephew, Derek Sisco (Heidi) Winter Haven, FL, stepchildren Linda Woodward & Rickey Baxter, Winter Haven, FL, four grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her mother, Xenia Hamby. A memorial will be held at 921 Sunshine Way, Winter Haven (Harold & Sue Hamby's home) at 2 pm March 5th. We would ask everyone to come with a smile on their face and a story to share, help to lesson our heartache her sudden passing has left behind. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made in Sherrie's name to: Senior Orphans of Polk County, 2245 Longleaf Circle, Lakeland, FL, 33810. – Ledger, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016
>DWIGHT BARNES – 75 - Bowen Brothers Citrus
WINTER HAVEN - Dwight Barnes of Winter Haven went to be with the Lord, Friday, Feb. 1, 2008 at his residence due to cancer. Born April 3, 1932 in Winter Haven, Veteran of the U.S. Navy he has been a lifelong resident of the area. He was a citrus buyer for Bowen Brothers Citrus, LLC in Winter Haven; a member of Grace Community Church and a, having served in the Korean War.  > Dwight is preceded in death by: his parents, Asa and Anne Barnes; and 2 brothers, Wilbur and LaRue Barnes.  >He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betty J. Barnes; 2 sons, Jeff Barnes of Winter Haven and Larry Barnes and his wife Robyn of Winter Haven; 2 daughters, Lynda Lewis and her husband Rick of Winter Haven and Patti Bess and her husband Rick of Winter Haven; a sister, Peggie Rister of Lakeland, FL; 9 grandchildren, Kristen, Stefani, Sarah, Nikki, Jennifer, Scott, Katie, Heath and Wade; and one great-grandchild, Davin.  The family will receive friends Monday, Feb. 4, 2008 at Oak Ridge Funeral Care, 2425 Havendale Blvd., Winter Haven. Funeral Services will be held, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008 in the Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Charles Harkala officiating. Interment will follow at Auburndale Memorial Park. Memorials may be made in his memory to Grace Community Church, 652 Avenue L, NW, Winter Haven, Fl 33880. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.oakridgefuneralcare.com . – Ledger, Feb. 4, 2008
>CONSTANCE WOOD FISHER – 96 -
WINTER HAVEN - Constance Wood Fisher, formerly of Auburndale, died Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at the Palm Garden Nursing Home. She was born March 30, 1915 in Sifton, Manitoba, Canada, but came to Dundee at an early age where she grew up. Mrs. Fisher graduated from Winter Haven High School and worked in citrus and school food service of Polk County.  > She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Fisher of Tampa. >She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Judith Lynn and Ernest O. Meadows of Auburndale; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Visitation will be Sunday, April 17, 2011 at Oak Ridge Funeral Care in Winter Haven. Graveside services will be held Monday, April 18, 2011 at Forest Hill Cemetery with Pastor Nora Ramirez of Trinity United Methodist Church officiating. Condolences may be sent at www.oakridgefuneralcare.com . –Ledger, April 15, 2011
>HELEN G. KESTERSON – 93 - w/o- James Kesterson  - Ledger, Friday, July 17, 2015
WINTER HAVEN - Helen G. Kesterson, was born on August 17, 1921, in Jacksonville, FL to Preston and Grace Boomershiner Gulledge. She passed away Tuesday, July 14, 2015, here in Winter Haven, FL.  Mrs. Kesterson moved to Winter Haven in 1947, from Flint, MI with her late husband, James W. Kesterson who passed away in 2006. She was a member of Beymer Memorial United Methodist Church, and the Lake Region Yacht and Country Club.> She is survived by her son, James E. (Brenda) Kesterson of Auburndale and one granddaughter, Brandi (Kevin) Kesterson Gutch of Sanford, FL. The family will receive friends, Monday, July 20, 2015, at Oak Ridge Funeral Care in Winter Haven. A memorial service will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the funeral home chapel. In Lieu of flowers send donations to Beymer Memorial United Methodist Church Trust Fund. 
>JAMES W. KESTERSON – 90 – Chemical Engineer for Dupont -  Ledger, Nov. 23, 2006
Winter Haven - Mr. James W. Kesterson, died of natural causes Saturday (Nov. 18, 2006) at Tandem Health Care in Winter Haven. Born in Goree, Texas, on Dec. 19, 1915, he came to Winter Haven from Flint, Mich., in 1947. He was a chemical engineer for Dupont de Nemours & Co., in Flint, Mich., and a professor (chemist) at the University of Florida, IFAS. Citrus and Research & Education Center in Lake Wales. He was a member of Beymer Memorial Untied Methodist Church. He was a commander in Navy aviation and a veteran of World War II. He was a member Phi Tau Sigma (Food Science Honorary); Society for Economic Botany. He was a member of the Florida State Horticultural Society; New York Academy of Sciences, Institute of Food Technologies; American Orchid Society and Ridge Orchid Society. He was honored with the ASME Citrus Engineering Award, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, Florida Citrus Mutual Award of Excellence in citrus by-products research, and Sunkist Award for Excellence in Citrus Products Technology. He was honored in the American Men & Women of Science (R.R. Bowker Co.) Who's Who in the South and Southwest (Marquis, 16th Ed.) and Who's Who in Technology Today (Technology Recognition Corp.) He produced a total of 175 publications, which include 14 technical bulletins, 1 monograph, 2 patents, and 158 scientific journal articles pertaining to citrus essential oils, specialty products and by-products. >Mr. Kesterson is survived by his wife, Mrs. Helen Kesterson, Winter Haven; son, James E. (Brenda) Kesterson, Auburndale, FL.;1 granddaughter, Brandi Kesterson-Gierun, Orlando. Visitation will be Friday, November 24, 2006 with services at Beymer Memorial United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beymer Trust Fund or Memorial U.M.C.
>JASON LYNN McNEER –  42 -  Citrus Industry
WINTER HAVEN - On Friday March 25, 2016, Jason Lynn McNeer passed away from a fatal car accident in Winter Haven. Born in Winter Haven, Florida, July 27, 1973 to the late Richard 'Dick' McNeer and Shalbgeen 'Geenie' McNeer Sutton, Jason was a lifelong Polk County resident.  A 1992 graduate of Auburndale High School, Jason attended the University of Florida as an Agriculture major. With his stepdad, Donald Sutton, Jason was involved in the citrus industry, beginning at age 13 and lasting throughout his life. Jason McNeer is a proud Marine who served the United States from 1994-1998, with part of his duties taking him to Okinawa, Japan. The adored brother of Dyeanna Dye Portlock, Robin Dye O'Neill, Gina Dye Keller and Laura and Susanne Sutton, with brothers Richard, Greg, and Ashley McNeer. Admiring nieces, nephews, and cousins span across the United States.  Jason and Angela McNeer Fender were blessed with two beautiful children, and Jason's legacy lives on as a proud and adoring father to Logan and Bo McNeer. A Florida Gator fanatic, you've never seen or heard a more elated dad than listening to Jason brag about his daughter Logan's recent UF acceptance; or sharing his Father's love of music with his son, Bo. Jason's children were his sweetest treasure and greatest delight. An avid and talented cook, Jason earned himself the title of an award-winning meat enthusiast not only in competitions but by friends and family as well! Jason always had a smile with an unmistakable roar of laughter heard across any room. Life of the party and quick to make a joke, Rock n Roll constantly played on the stereo. Friend to many, kind to all, Jason never met a stranger. We remember Jason with sadness today, but joy and laughter always. In lieu of flowers, Jason would have appreciated contributions the Winter Haven VFW Chapter, Post 4289. 2441 7th Street SW, 33880. Memorial Services will be held Thursday morning at Thrive Church in Winter Haven at 651 Carl Floyd Rd., 33884. Following the service, a celebration of life gathering will follow at Hunter McNeer's Family home: 550 South Glencruiten Avenue, Lake Alfred 33850. – Ledger, Tuesday, March 29, 2016
>BILL BELL  - 91 - 
WINTER HAVEN - Bill Bell, a bon vivant who became a household name in Winter Haven as a result of a robust business and civic career conducted over the course of more than half a century, died January 21, 2019 after a short illness. Born to Nick & Mary Bell, he was raised from infancy in Steubenville, Ohio in a household of four brothers and three sisters, his family moved to Bartow when he was a teenager. There he attended Summerlin Institute where he excelled in sports. Following graduation he was employed at Cypress Gardens as an electric boat driver and ski show announcer. A talented showman, while in the Army he became friends with the singer Dean Martin, who later became a relative through marriage. After his discharge from the service Bill returned to Winter Haven and operated the Hob Nob, an intimate Winter Haven bar frequented by the city's luminaries as well as actors Esther William, Joey Bishop, and Carol Burnett - who were brought on location by Dick Pope for films such as 'Easy to Love,' a movie shot in and around Winter Haven which helped cement Cypress Gardens' reputation as one of the country's premier tourist destinations. At the Hob Nob Bill served up 3.2 beer and a dish called pizza - a virtual novelty in Polk County at the time - as well as his signature brand of humor and a staple of highly entertaining stories, some of which were doubtless true. When not hobnobbing with local residents and Hollywood stars, he befriended and entertained aviation cadets training at nearby Bartow Air Base. After a regular customer introduced him to the rug business Bill began a sideline occupation of carpet sales - at first out of the trunk of his car. Several years later, when Polk County finally allowed liquor sales, he found himself unwilling to compete with the growing number of lounges and so elected to close the bar. With his wife Joanne, he transformed the building on Sixth Street and Avenue B NW into a full-service, upscale carpet store, hiring his friend Gene Leedy to orchestrate a major remodeling, which included restoring the 1920 building's signature exterior archways that remain today. Of Greek extraction, Bill was born on December 2, 1927 as William Antemesaris. His father, a businessman who emigrated to the United States at the age of 16, decided the name too problematic for American tongues, so changed it to Bell - easy to pronounce and lyrically evocative as well. Optimistic, upbeat and possessing a refined sense of humor, Bill is remembered by his patrons and friends as a competent and ethical businessman, a committed amateur golfer, an enthusiastic influence on the community's cultural scene and a gracious gentleman of manifold personal qualities. Later in life - but not too late, he recalled - he learned to live by the adage, 'When you help God's children, God blesses you.' >He was preceded in death by his wife, Joanne, and >is survived by a brother, sister, nephews and nieces. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Matthews Church in Winter Haven on February 18, 2019 - Ledger, Feb. 12, 2019
ALICE FAYE CORLEY  - 65 -  Corley's Citrus
WINTER HAVEN -- Mrs. Alice Faye Corley of Winter Haven died of cancer Thursday (March 2, 2006) at Good Shepherd Hospice. She was born in Sebring on May 16, 1940, she was a lifelong resident of the area. She worked for Corley's Citrus and Auburndale Market. She attended Southside Assembly of God in Lakeland. Mrs. Corley is survived by her husband, Richard "Dick" Corley; daughters, Kathy Mallory, Sandra Smith, both of Lake Wales; son, Richard E. Corley Jr., Richmond, Ky.; mother, Alma Douglas, Winter Haven; sister, Gail Harrison, Eagle Lake; eight grandchildren; 10 greatgrandchildren. Visitation will be this evening at Marion Nelson Funeral Home in Lake Wales. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in Lake Wales Cemetery. Ledger, March 5, 2006
>SHIRLEY MacCALLA  SHARPE -  80 - Southern Bell Cypress Gardens -
ORLANDO - Shirley MacCalla Sharpe passed away 12/23/12 in Orlando of heart failure.  She was a Winter Haven native, graduated from WWHS class of 1950, and was a Southern Bell and water Skier at Cypress Gardens. A memorial service will be at Holy Cross Episcopal Church at 3:00 P.M., Saturday, January 19, 2013. - Ledger, Jan. 13, 2013
>JAMES LINDELL RODEN - 92 -  
WINTER HAVEN - James Lindell Roden, Sr., passed away peacefully Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale. James was born in Crossville, AL on December 24, 1926 the son of Orion Lindell Roden and Velma Jones Roden. His father died when he was 10 and his mother and stepfather, Carl Clayton, moved to Winter Haven in 1935. >James graduated from Winter Haven High School where he lettered in four varsity sports and excelled as a running back for the football team. After graduating he joined the U.S. Army in 1945 and spent a year in Germany with the occupation troops.  After he was discharged and returned to Winter Haven he met the love of his life Thelma Mae Arnold. They were married in 1950 and recently celebrated their 68th anniversary. > James attended both the University of Florida and Florida Southern College. In 1952 he started working with the Polk County Property Appraisers Office. In 1963 he was appointed by the Governor to fill the office of Property Appraiser (called Tax Assessor at the time) and subsequently was elected in 1964. He would be re-elected six more times before retiring as Property Appraiser in 1990. > James was a faithful member of Southside Baptist Church for over 65 years where he served as Usher and former Church Clerk. He belonged to organizations such as: the Bartow Lions Club, Florida Appraiser's Association, International Association of Certified Property Appraisers, The Blue Belt Commission and Legislative Commission of Property Appraisers. >In addition to his parents James was preceded in death by his wife Thelma Mae Roden. Today they are reunited in Heaven. >He is survived by his sons, Jim Roden, Jr. (Edie), John Roden; daughter, Connie Taft (Rhett); seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.  Visitation will be from 5 pm to 7 pm on Monday, January 14, 2019 at Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, Winter Haven. Funeral services will be held at 11 am on January 15, 2019 at Southside Baptist Church, Winter Haven. > Should friends desire, donations in James' honor may be made to Southside Baptist Church or Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale.-Ledger, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019
>THELMA M. RODEN  - 93  -
AUBURNDALE - Thelma Mae Roden passed away peacefully Monday, December 3, 2018 at Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale. Thelma was born in Bowling Green, Ky. on August 12, 1925. She moved to Florida as a young woman where she met the love of her life James L. Roden Sr. They were married for 68 years. >Thelma loved to cook, crochet, sew and make craft items, especially from sea shells. She had a terrific green thumb, loved to fish and had a knack for making beautiful flower arrangements. She loved spending time with family, friends and especially loved her church. >Thelma is survived by her husband, James; sons, Jim Roden, Jr. (Edie) and John Roden; daughter, Connie Taft (Rhett); seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Visitation will be on December 6, 2018 at Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, Winter Haven. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on December 7, 2018 at Southside Baptist Church, Winter Haven. >Should friends desire, donations in Thelma's honor may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale.- Ledger, Dec. 4, 2018
> EDWARD JAMES DRAYTON  - 57  -  Polk Co. School Board 
WINTER HAVEN - Edward James Drayton, died of renal failure December 3, 2006 in Winter Haven. Born in Winter Haven, Florida, on Aug. 15, 1949, he was a lifelong resident. He was a retired custodian for the Polk County School Board and Winter Haven Hospital. He was a member of New Bethel AME Church where he served on the usher board. He graduated from Jewett High School in the class of 1967. > Mr. Drayton is survived by his father and stepmother, Eddie and Ellen Drayton, Winter Haven; grandmother, Beulah Thomas Lewis, Winter Haven; Beulah Grant, Los Angeles, CA., Janice Drayton, Winter Haven, Tracey Marbley Kinsler, Winter Haven;sisters, brothers, Ronald Drayton, Winter Haven, Michael Drayton, Jacksonville, Kevin Marbley, Winter Haven. Visitation will be from 6 -7 p.m. Friday at Alexander Funeral Home, Winter Haven. Services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006 at New Bethel AME Church, 750 Ave. Y. N.E., Winter Haven. Burial will be in Lake Maude Cemetery. - Ledger, Dec. 7 - 2006

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