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Florence Luella Peper, 88, passed away June 4, 2012 and our family said goodbye to our matriarch.
Florence Luella Peper
Florence was born September 28, 1923 in Oslo, Minnesota to William and Rose Johnson. She married Merle Peper on July 20, 1943, after a two month courtship. In her words, the first time she saw him, she said, "He's mine!". It was soon obvious that he only had eyes for her. He was the love of her life and they honored their marriage vows for the next 65 years, providing a wonderful example to their family.
Merle and Florence spent their early years farming in Leonard, Minnesota where Florence showed she was no stranger to hard work. The love of gardening was to be found in the large vegetable garden they tended every year at their Arlington home, a place for the grandkids to experience the wonder and joy of living in the country.
In 1952, they moved their growing family to Washington where Florence worked as a waitress in Arlington at the Bluebird Cafe. After six years, Merle and Florence purchased the restaurant and turned it into a thriving part of the Arlington community. Florence had tremendous pride in the Bluebird, often opening the restaurant early to feed "her boys", the local police, and county and state law officers. Through the Bluebird, she passed on to her children her uncompromising, stellar work ethic.
She was the Bluebirds driving force until retirement around age 70. She spent the ensuing years providing care and comfort for her husband during his lengthy, final illness. She was a pillar of strength, steely determination and strong will.
Florence was fiercely loyal to her family and truly enjoyed her growing, extended family. There was such joy on her face when she was able to hold her grandchildren. Even in her last, final week of life, her grandchildren, and great grandchildren, brought her joy and delight. She was well loved and will be truly missed.
She is survived by her children, Carol Mani, Wallace (Judy) Peper, Thomas (Becky) Peper, Cynthia (David) George, Merle C. (Linda) Peper, and Shirley (Wayne) Parris.
She is also survived by sisters, Evelyn Pozarnsky and Leona Djernes. Florence had the joy and honor of having eighteen grandchildren, twenty three great grandchildren and a great great grandson due in October.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Merle; infant daughter, Alene; infant granddaughter, Christina; and brothers, Wallace and Robert Johnson.
Remembrances may be made to Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Cancer Research, or the Arlington Heights Community Hall.
We would also like to thank all the dedicated doctors and nurses at Providence Hospital for the wonderful care given to Florence in her final days.
A celebration of the life of both Merle and Florence will be held July 7, 1:00 p.m. at the Arlington Heights Community Club.
Published in The Herald (Everett) from June 17 to July 6, 2012