Lonnie Friday Persons, 89, of Punta Gorda, Fla., passed away Monday, June 2, 2014, surrounded by her family, at the Palms of Punta Gorda.
She was born April 3, 1925, in Lake Garfield, Fla., to Mayo and Elmer “Otto” Friday Sr.
Lonnie grew up in several locations in Florida, including Lake Garfield, Fort Green Springs, Fla., and Punta Gorda. Her father was a manager of the local Florida Babcock Lumber Co., and the Babcock Ranch. She spent a number of years growing up on Babcock Ranch, where she lived above the current commissary building with her parents and brother.
Lonnie graduated from Florida State College for Women, now known as Florida State University, in Tallahassee, Fla. She had many fond memories of Tallahassee, and going to the University of Florida football games in Gainesville, Fla., as FSU did not have a football team at the time.
Lonnie was a retired elementary school teacher in Punta Gorda, where she taught most of her career at Sallie Jones Elementary School, from the year it was built. She graduated from Charlotte High School, and her kids were always amazed she could remember the words to all the Charlotte High School songs from her high school days.
Lonnie had a very strong faith, and was a member of First United Methodist Church of Punta Gorda. She especially enjoyed meeting with the members of her circle for Bible study. She loved going to the Punta Gorda Library and Delta Kappa Gamma meetings, where she met many retired teachers and new teachers coming into the system. In retirement, Lonnie enjoyed painting, and her house is full of early American Folk Art paintings, which will be passed on to her family.
She will be missed by her loving family, including children, Thelma “Kay” (John) Taylor of Tallahassee, and James “Steve” (Brenda) Persons of Punta Gorda; and she was “Nonnie” to her grandchildren, Michael (Jill) Taylor of Santa Clara, Calif., Kelli Taylor of Gainesville, Matthew (Mylissa) Persons of Punta Gorda, and Mindy (Carlos “Jesse”) Persons Saldana of Punta Gorda; and great-grandchildren, Samuel and Melanie Taylor, and Jada, Cainan and Kodah Saldana. She also is survived by many nieces and nephews, along with their families, to whom she was especially close, and with whom enjoyed getting together at family gatherings; and she will be missed by her many lifelong close friends in Punta Gorda. Lonnie felt she was very fortunate to have lived in Punta Gorda and met so many wonderful friends over the years. She was preceded in death by her past husband and father of her children, James M. Persons; and her brother, Judge Elmer O. Friday, who was a past member of the Florida Senate.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 6, 2014, at Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Home in Punta Gorda, followed by a reception at the Laishley Crab House restaurant in Punta Gorda. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Punta Gorda Historical Society, and please note it is to be used for the new youth museum being constructed on Shreve Street in Punta Gorda.
Also, she was especially thankful to the staff and health care professionals of Bayfront Health Punta Gorda, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Life Care Center of Punta Gorda, and the Palms of Punta Gorda.