Florence Mae Nixon of Cuba, Missouri was born on January 27, 1921 in Anthonies Mill, Missouri, to the union of Charles A. and Julia A. (Record) Jenkerson. She departed from this life on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri at the age of 99 years.
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As a young girl, Florence often rode to school on the back of her brother’s horse. She was a shy girl with brown hair and crystal blue eyes. At age thirteen, Florence graduated from the eighth grade. A student excelling in her studies, especially spelling and math, she was asked to stay on another year to assist the teacher. She continued her education for the rest of her life through her deep love of reading.
At age 14, Florence was again recognized for her academic skills and trustworthiness. The owner of the little store in Anthonies Mill, (also known as the Kimberlin General Store), hired her to single-handedly run his business, while he attended to his farm. Florence was given full responsibility of sorting everyone’s mail, weighing and bagging the store’s dry goods, tobacco, sugar, flour, and crackers, and then selling these items. She made lunches for the WPA workers, took care of the proprietor’s chickens in back of the store, and collected and sold their eggs.
As a young adult, she moved into a boarding house in Bourbon and was hired at the Bourbon Cap Factory, where she met the love of her life. After only three months of dating, Florence was united in marriage to Francis M. Nixon in 1941. As newlyweds their lives were tested by Francis’ severe bout with spinal meningitis. Florence took the streetcar over to St. Mary’s in St. Louis to visit him every day for six weeks. After Francis’ early brush with death, she was even more grateful for their time together. She spent the next 60 years loving him, cooking him three meals a day, keeping their home, giving birth to their three children, Linda, Terry, and Julia, and applying her droll sense of humor and quick wit in both joyful and difficult times.
In her homemaking, Florence became an incredible cook, but not without practice. As a young wife, she went from throwing pie crust up against the wall in frustration, to cooking the entire Thanksgiving Dinner for many years (into her eighties) for her large extended family. Cooking was her passion. Family favorites were her yeast rolls, molasses cookies, chocolate cake, macaroni and cheese, and the piece de la resistance-- a tender and flaky pie crust! At 95, she made her last homemade chocolate cake for a family gathering. Florence showed her love for her family, like her mother—through the art of cooking.
In her love of nature, Florence cultivated a nourishing, vibrant life. She took great pride in her yard. With the help of Francis, she planted roses, peonies, lilacs, redbud, dogwood, maple, apple, and sweetgum trees, tulips, hydrangeas, grapevines and clematis vines. She also tended a lush garden filled with tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, corn and squash. She modeled great patience waiting for the harvest and cooking from scratch. One of her favorite pastimes was to drives through the countryside where she would pick wildflowers alongside the road to take back home.
Along with her love of cooking and gardening, Florence most of all, loved her family. She embodied the principle that Love is an action word. Mothering her children through childhood illnesses and all the trials and tribulations of growing up, Florence also became the caretaker of her own mother for 3 years, and cared for her Beloved Francis when he became ill with cancer. Her kitchen table was a place where her children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors experienced the love of her listening, accepting ear. She was always thinking about the other person, offering them food, understanding and wisdom.
Florence’s unique gift to her family, friends and neighbors was making them feel loved unconditionally. Out of this love, her ability to forgive others was truly remarkable. She embodied the scripture: “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Florence is preceded in death by her parents Charles A. and Julia A. (Record) Jenkerson; one sister Helen Peterson; one brother Charles Jenkerson; and her husband, Francis M. Nixon.
Those who are left to treasure her memory and to continue her legacy are her three children Linda and husband Tom Isaacs of St. James, Missouri; Terry Nixon of Columbia, Missouri; Julia Ann and husband Edward Krovicka of St. Louis, Missouri; seven grandchildren Kelly and husband Troy Schneider; Tara Obrigewitch; Christy and husband Bill Hahn; Zachary and wife Beth Nixon; Maury and husband Brett Horton; Jeremiah and wife Mei-Ling Isaacs; Ian Greenlee; one sister Frances Prince of Chesterfield, Missouri; eleven great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and many friends.
Our dear mother and grandmother deserves a beautiful tribute. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and in the best health interest of everyone. The family has decided to have a private, immediate family only visitation and funeral service. Please be with us in prayer.
Interment will follow at Kinder Cemetery, Cuba, Missouri.
A Celebration of Life Service, will be announced at a later date.
The Mizell Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Nixon family.