Cortland, Ohio - Florence Fay Simons, age 95, died on Saturday, January 16, 2021. She was born April 11, 1925, in Farmdale, Ohio, the daughter of Joetta "Josie" Charity (McClelland) and Lonzo "Jack" Leroy Simons. Florence was a 1942 graduate of Kinsman High School. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees from the renowned Oberlin College Conservatory, and furthered her studies at the University of Colorado, as well as North Texas State University.
Florence's life was dedicated to music and she touched the lives of many people by sharing her talents of playing anything with a keyboard, but her true love was the organ. Florence taught all levels of music at Oberlin College Conservatory in Ohio, Leesburg High School in Florida, and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) in Texas.
Florence eventually rooted herself into a 27-year career teaching music in the Dallas Independent School District at Hillcrest High School and Lakewood Elementary in Texas. She had an overlapping career for 31 years as an Associate Organist at First United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas, Texas, including twelve years serving as Secretary for the church's Education Division.
Florence played for many churches, civic clubs, weddings, and schools, including performances of Broadway musical productions in four Dallas high schools. She has accompanied numerous vocalists and instrumentalists for Middle and High School University Interscholastic League contests in Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Carrollton, The Colony, and Highland Park. In addition, Florence was the accompanist at Diocesan Music Festivals held yearly at the University of Dallas for the area's Catholic Schools. Florence received many accolades in her life, and she was the 2003 inductee into the UMHB Walter Gilewicz Hall of Fame.
After retiring in Texas, Florence returned to Ohio in 2006 to reside at Ohio Living Lake Vista in Cortland, where she lived independently in a villa with her dog Hans (her 18th dachshund). She continued to play organ at First United Church of Christ in Warren, Ohio until a debilitating case of vertigo ended her storied career.
She is preceded in death by her parents; an infant sister, Beryl Simons; sister, Lavon McKinley, and brother, Franklin "Bun" Simons. Survivors include a niece, Maxine Coldwell of Taft, California; two nephews, James (Carolyn) McKinley of Kinsman, Ohio, and David Simons, Sr. of DeLeon Springs, Florida; and numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
Private services and burial will be in Kinsman Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Church of Christ, 280 East Market Street, Warren, OH, 44481. Baumgardner Funeral & Cremation Service of Kinsman, handled the arrangements, where you may leave your favorite memory or condolence at www.baumgardnerfuneralhome.com. The song has ended...the melody lingers....
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