Myrtle Whittle Brown, 90, had her own “home-going” when she passed away Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, three days after the church homecoming.
She was born Feb. 23, 1923, in Nocatee, Fla., in the house her father built 100 years ago, lived there all her life, and died there.
Myrtle worked at Carlstrom Field during World War II, in the canteen and commissary, and fueling airplanes for cadets in training, and at one time at the Nocatee-Manatee Crate Company in Nocatee. She worked at the former G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital for 31 years, and she loved to sew, crochet, bake, cook, garden and quilt.
At the homecoming and final service Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, for the red brick First Baptist Church of Nocatee, she shared how her mother brought her to church in a basket when she was but a week old, and how she still had the basket. Myrtle also recalled how she and others played in the church balcony and would sneak upstairs to ring the bell when they weren’t supposed to. Following the homecoming service, that same bell was rung for the last time, as the building will be razed soon to make way for the widening of U.S. 17.
Myrtle attended Nocatee School for grades one through eight, DeSoto County High School for grades nine through 11, and spent her senior year at Saluda High School in South Carolina. She married Verner “Preacher” Brown and had two children, Buford and Lucille. She was the eldest member of First Baptist Church of Nocatee, which her father and grandfather helped to build 99 years ago, and her parents were charter members there. Myrtle read her Bible daily, and yearly, cover-to-cover. She had the gift of fairness and peace with all, and loved all her neighbors and friends.
She is survived by her children, Buford L. Brown and Lucille B. “Lucy” Brown of Nocatee; and grandchildren, Rebecca Bowen Miller of Orlando, Fla., and Ernest Joshua Bowen of Tallahassee, Fla. Myrtle was preceded in death by her husband, Verner Brown, in 1969; her parents, Buford Farrell Whittle Sr. and Carrie Lucille Whittle of South Carolina; second mother, Virginia Speed Whittle of Kentucky; and siblings, Buford Farrell Whittle Jr., Levi David Whittle and Catherine Lucille McCormick, all of Nocatee.
A time of family visitation will be from noon until 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home in Arcadia, Fla., with a celebration of her life immediately afterward. Interment will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of Nocatee building fund, 4610 S.W. Highway 17, Arcadia, FL 34268. Online condolences may be made at www.pongerkaysgrady.com.
Arrangements are by Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Arcadia.