The beautiful life of Florida Mae Conner Gillette came to a close on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at Courtyard Gardens in Arkadelphia. She was born on May 25, 1928 in Gum Springs, Arkansas to the union of Samuel and Ada Ritchie Conner.
As a young girl she was baptized and joined St. Ruth Baptist Church. She was a graduate of Peake High School. Florida enjoyed the simple things that life offered and lived life to the fullest. Her charismatic personality and wit allowed her to easily make friends with both the young and the old. She was known to “tell it like it is” with a spirit of love.
She met Clayborn Gillette and after a brief courtship they married on July 7, 1965. Her children were such an important part of her life and they brought her so much joy. She played an important part in the lives of her children and grandchildren’s success; helping and guiding them in reaching their goals. She gave wise counsel offering it freely and without one asking.
A woman of great beauty and elegance, her radiant smile shined like a beacon of light in the darkness and she brought joy into the lives she touched. She was a “fashionista” who had impeccable taste and always took pride in looking beautiful from head to toe, which included her hair, clothes and nails.
Florida believed in keeping a clean home. She loved shopping, having fun, good food and spending time with her family. Though she is no longer with us in body and her irreplaceable presence will be deeply missed, her legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who were impacted by the beautiful life she lived.
Florida was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, one sister, El Bessie Wells, two brothers, Samuel Conner and Emmanuel Conner and a grandson, Stanley W. Stephens, Sr.
She leaves to cherish her precious memories: her children, Flora J. Stephens of Atlanta, GA; Kevin (Laura) Gillette of El Paso, TX; Karen Norris and her fiancé Aldric Smith of Little Rock, AR; five grandchildren, Kasey L. Summerville, Breanna Norris, Jalen Norris, Andre Richardson and Marissa Gillett; five great-grandchildren, Jasmine Wilson, Stanley W. Stephens, Jr., Cydney Stephens Woodson, Jade Summerville and Jansen Summerville; three great-great grandchildren; one brother, Willie Mack Conner of Arkadelphia, AR; six step-children, Melvyn Lois Gillette of Oakland, CA, Vickie Vaughn of Plano, TX, Mark Gillette of Dallas, TX, Shelia Bragg of Gum Springs, AR, Frenchie Gillette of Memphis, TN, and Freddie Gillette of Dallas, TX: nieces, nephews other relative and friends.
Public visitation will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at the funeral home. A celebration of her life will be shared at 12 noon on Friday, December 13, 2013 at St. Ruth Baptist Church in Gum Springs, Arkansas. Rev. Thomas D. Hale will officiate. Interment will be in Gum Springs Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. Ruth Baptist Church, 415 Jones Street, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923.