Obituary: Dorothy J. Florence / Realty agent from Carnegie, Rosslyn Farms
July 15, 1918-July 28, 2009
Sunday, August 02, 2009
By Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Dorothy J. Florence was the kind of woman who seemed to have more hours in a day than most people.
She got more done and still had time for fun, almost until the end. She died Tuesday at age 91 in St. Clair Hospital, Mt. Lebanon.
Mrs. Florence was a mother of five who found time to volunteer, serve on boards and cultivate a life of friendships that included a bridge club at the Chartiers Country Club.
Her oldest friends grew up calling her Dot. One of them, Fred Niett, lived near her in Crafton and now lives in the same townhouse community in Robinson where she most recently lived.
Mr. Niett, the last survivor of what Mrs. Florence called "the old shoe gang," said she was always into something that made him "wide-eyed," whether it was a trick-or-treat prank, sledding down a steep slope or being at the center of swarms of friends as a child.
"She did exciting things, I remember," he said. "I was always in awe of all these kids congregating around [her] house."
Mrs. Florence graduated from the former Crafton High School in 1936. She is the last known female survivor of her class of 140 students, according to her son, David Florence, of Fairfax County, Va.
She later studied art at the former Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University. When she married Raymond Florence in 1937, the couple settled in Carnegie. They raised five children and later moved to Rosslyn Farms.
Her husband owned Florence Real Estate, which she operated after his death in 1979. She later sold real estate as a partner in Highland Park Associates and Florence Associates.
Mrs. Florence was highly organized and energetic, her son said. Into her 80s, she was still riding snowmobiles at the family's property near Somerset.
She was artistic and had a good sense of fashion, he said.
"She loved hats. At another time of day, she would be in the garden in a T-shirt.
"She had an independence and energy about her that inspired people who were much younger."
Several months ago, he and his mother made a list of people who would expect to be contacted when she died.
"I told her that would be easier than going through her three Rolodexes trying to figure it out," he said.
"She said 'I don't want anybody to be upset about me dying. I have gotten more than I ever dreamed of and accomplished far more than I ever thought I would. I traveled far more than I ever dreamed I would. It's just part of the human life cycle. People need to make room for the new ones.'
"And I said 'I know, but people are going to miss you.'
"She said, 'That's what photography was invented for.' "
Mrs. Florence was a volunteer at UPMC Mercy and Magee-Womens Hospital, and a board member of the Civic Light Opera.
In addition to her son David, she is survived by four other children, Susan O'Toole of Rosslyn Farms, and sons, Ray Florence of York, York County; Anthony Florence of Mt. Lebanon and Jamie Florence of West Bloomfield, Mich.; 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Visitation is from 12 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Hershberger-Stover Funeral Home, 170 Noble Ave., Crafton. A Mass will be celebrated tomorrow at St. Mary of Mercy Church, 202 Stanwix St., Downtown.