Polk Professional
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LAKELAND - Farmer Jones Red Barn - Hostess and Crossing Guard
 Billie Dee Mela-McManus, 83, went home to the Lord March 14, 2012, due to pneumonia. Billie was born February 17, 1929 in Ponca City, OK. Billie Dee had lived in Lakeland since 1944, went to Lakeland High School, enjoyed square dancing for years, was the hostess at her father's restaurant, Farmer Jones Red Barn, loved Lakeland and its history.
 She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles G. (Farmer) & Fay Jones, Bobby Charles Jones (brother), Edward Williams (husband), Seth Mela (husband), and John Cipriano (husband). Billie Dee was blessed with a loving family and is  Survived by her husband, Joe McManus, and five children, James Williams (Debbie), Charles Williams (Sharon), Bobby Williams (Terry Jones), Anita Fay Jones (Mike) and Carolyn Grice (Rickey), brother Sammy Lee Jones, 15 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.
 A viewing will be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, with a service to follow at Parkview Baptist Church. Memorial Donations may be sent to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Ave Auburndale, Fl 33823.
Heath Funeral Home  
www.heathfuneralchapel.com  ( Ledger, March 17, 2012 )
>DR. VAN TYLE  BURNETTE -  87 – Owner Havendale Animal Clinic
WINTER HAVEN - Dr. Van Tyle Burnette, owner and operator of Havendale Animal Clinic passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2012 from Alzheimer's, Dementia and Mythenias Gravis. Dr. Burnette was born in Noma, Florida on June 24, 1924 to James Burnette and Irene Counts. They moved to central Florida at an early age for Van. He enlisted in the Marine Corps but was allowed leave to return to Winter Haven to graduate from Winter Haven High School. His tour of duty was in Iowa Jima. At the conclusion of
World War II, he was sent into Japan for the official signing of documents for the termination of World War II where he was exposed to radiation from the bombing which effected his health.
After his return to Winter Haven, he met and married Jimmie Nell Galloway of Auburndale in 1947. They have been married 65 years. Van is a graduate of the
University of Florida and received his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University, Alabama.
 Dr. & Mrs. Burnette have one child, Vanessa Lynn Landry (Stephen) and three grandchildren; Michael Landry, Nicole Landry, and Ryan Landry.
He was a member of the Lions Club, National Riffle Association, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, and the Sons of the American Revolution. He was an avid marksmanship shooter with many awards and trophies. Van's love of life was Boy Scouts of America. He attained Eagle Scout at an early age and received the prestigious Silver Beaver Award in his later years. He attended many international scouting events as well as national events.
 In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Boy Scouts of America or Good Shepherd Hospice of Auburndale. A private service will be held by the family at a later date. - ( The Ledger, Jan. 15, 2012 )
>CLAIRE SIMONECHT -  94 – Red Top Trading Post
LAKELAND - Claire Simonecht, age 94, of Lakeland, FL passed away on 12/26/2012 from Natural Causes at Palm Terrace of Lakeland. Claire was born on 9/17/1918 in Huntingberg, IN. She was a Greeter at Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Inverness for years. Claire and her husband "Wimpy" opened and ran the Red Top Trading Post in 1949. The business is still being run by granddaughter Krickett Phillips.
 Claire is survived by her son Fritz (Penny) Simonecht, 4 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Good Shepherd Hospice. Services will be on 12/29 at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Inverness, FL. –
 ( The Ledger, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 )
>BOB J. BARBREE – 72 - Retired Bank President
LAKELAND - Bob J. Barbree, 72, of Lakeland, Florida succumbed to complications from Hodgkin's Lymphoma Thursday, May 30, 2013 at Lakeland Regional Memorial Hospital.
Born January 27, 1941 in Chattahoochee, Florida, he was the son of the late Johnathan F. and Cecil Mae Dickson Barbree.
As a child, Bob excelled academically and athletically at Chattahoochee High school where he was a class officer, a band captain, a member of the "C" Club, a two year member of the All Panhandle Conference for football, and a member of the 1958 All State football team prior to his graduation in 1959.
 After high school, Bob enlisted in the
United States Air Force where he served as a Photo Intelligence Specialist. Upon his honorary discharge, Bob began his life long career in finance and banking at Commercial National Bank in Shreveport, LA. In 1974 he moved to Fort Myers, FL to work for a bank that became Barnett Bank of Lee County. He finished his graduate degree of banking from LSU in 1975, and was appointed Chief Operating Officer during this time.
 From 1985 to 1992, Bob was named President of Barnett Bank of Northwest Florida. He was an active member of the Ft. Walton - Okaloosa County community serving on the boards of Okaloosa-Walton County Community College and the United States Air Force Museum Foundation. He was President of the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, a member of the
Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.
Bob moved to Lakeland, Florida in 1992 where he served as President of Barnett Bank of Polk County. Under Bob's leadership, Barnett Bank of Polk County was named "Bank of the Year" for the Barnett family of banks. Bob was active in the Lakeland community until his retirement from banking in 1998. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Polk Museum of Art, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Lakeland Economic Development Council. He was also active at Florida Southern College as a member of the Six Man Club and the President's Advisory Council. After retirement he continued to be an active member of Lone Palm Golf Club and of St. David's Episcopal Church where he has served as a Vestry Member and a Sub Deacon. He was an instrument rated pilot, an avid outdoorsman, and an accomplished skier but, more than any other activity, Bob loved to play golf and cherished his time spent with friends and family on the links.
 Bob is survived by his wife, Michelle of 30 years, daughter, Deborah (Don) Pence of Post Falls, Idaho, daughter, Stephanie (Chris) Summers of Benton Louisiana, son, Bryan (Bethany) Barbree of Lakeland Florida, his loving grandchildren, Rusty (Sara) Pence, Taylor Norbeck, Paige Pence, Nicholas Fulco and Peyton Singletary, his sister, Patricia Barbree Butler of Valdosta Georgia, and his sister-in-law, Eleanor Barbree of Crawfordville, Florida, and numerous nieces and nephews.
 In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Joe Barbree, Crawfordville, FL; his half-sister, Connie McDavid, Birmingham, AL; and his granddaughter, Addison Summers, Benton, La.
 Funeral Services will be held at 12 noon, Saturday, June 8, 2013 at St. David's Episcopal Church with Reverend Robert Moses officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to a
charity of your choice or the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , P. O. Box 50, Memphis, TN, 38101,-9929 or St. David's Episcopal Church, 145 East Edgewood Dr., Lakeland, FL, 33803-4014. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.heathfuneralchapel.com. – Ledger, Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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