Florence Elizabeth Massengill Walker, RN, 94, of Rollins Avenue, Hamlet, N.C., went to be with her Heavenly Father on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, as a result of a heart attack at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, Pinehurst, surrounded by her family.
Florence was born in Four Oaks, N.C., in Johnston County on Sunday, Oct. 26, 1919, the daughter of the late Ransom Lee Sr. and Lillie Ethel Snead Massengill. Her paternal grandparents were the late James Robert and Mary Elizabeth Lee Massengill. Her maternal grandparents were the late William Robert and Katie Florence Lassiter Snead.
Florence was the most wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandma one could hope for. She was unselfish and gave to her family without question. She was a very proud lady and did not want to accept help even when she needed help. She cared so deeply for her family, especially for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was involved in their daily lives until the end, and she was devoted to them and so very proud of them and their accomplishments. She was a lady of great character. She loved being around people, dancing, cooking and working in her yard. She knew the name of every camellia and azalea and maintained her yard always; sharing her flowers with others. She always enjoyed traveling with her family and spending time at her beach home in Cherry Grove, S.C. She was a lady of much knowledge with still much to share with others. Even one of her favorite past-times was watching Jeopardy after the news and of course baseball.
As a registered nurse, the doctors would always ask for "Walker" as she was a caring, compassionate lady who loved nursing and helping others. Even while she was in the hospital for only two days she was alert and asking about others and still had her sense of humor and dignity. She fought very hard as she so wanted to keep living. Though most of her peers have passed, she still had many friends of all ages that loved and respected her. She will never be forgotten. She will be sorely missed.
Florence attended Stewart's Chapel Elementary School and Four Oaks Junior High School in Johnston County. After the early death of her parents, she then went to Sanford to live with her mother's sister, Aunt Loula Snead, and then graduated from Sanford High in 1937. Florence met her husband in 1940 while he was a patient in the Hamlet Hospital after suffering a back injury while on-duty with the Seaboard Air-Line Railroad. They were married on March 17, 1941 in Miami, Fla.
At 94 years old, Florence was among the oldest independently registered nurses in the state. Florence stopped working in the early 80s and fully retired in 2005 according to the Nursing State Board of N.C. Florence entered Hamlet Hospital School of Nursing and received her three-year diploma in 1941. There were only six graduates out of 15, and she served as Chief Marshall at graduation for the previous graduating class.
Florence quickly passed the Board of Exams with honors. and quickly enrolled in the North Carolina State Nurses Association and became a member of the N.C. Board of Nursing in District 12. She served on the Board of Directors and was chairman of many committees from 1941 to 1976. She was a volunteer for the Red Cross during World War II and was rewarded her pin in 1959. She was instrumental in helping put together packages for troops as they passed through the "Hub of the Seaboard" in Hamlet on the trains going to war. She remained active in the Red Cross Blood Bank until 2000.
Florence worked as an RN for many years and in many different aspects of the medical field. As there was not an ICU then, she began her journey as a Private Duty Nurse for nine years from 1941 to 1950, Night Supervisor at Hamlet Hospital from 1951 to 1952, Industrial Nurse at Safie Manufacturing Co. in East Rockingham from 1953 to 1958, Secretary of the Industrial Section of the N.C.S. Nurses Association from 1957 to 1958 and Secretary of the Private Duty section of the N.C.S. Nurses Association in 1961. During her employment she was the first president of the Hamlet Hospital Alumni Association that she helped founded in 1955. She then continued her Private Duty nursing from 1958 to 1976.
Florence had been a member of the First United Methodist Church in Hamlet since 1938 after moving her membership from Steele Street Methodist Church in Sanford. She served as Vice President of the Methodist Women from 1958 to 1962, President of the Builders Class from 1958 to 1962, Circle Leader from 1962 to 1970, Chairman of the Vocational Committee of the United Methodist Women from 1956 to 1958, member of the Official Board from 1964 to 1965 and a member of the XYZ club.
She was also a member of the Hamlet Women's Club from 1971 to 1972, Lynwood Garden Club 1975 to 1978 and North Carolina Museum of Textile History Inc. from 1987 to 1988. She was a current member of Ladies Auxiliary of the United Transportation Union (Telmah Lodge #725), since Dec. 10, 1943, and president since Nov. 22, 1977, Retired Nurses Breakfast Club and General Henry William Harrington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution since 1999.
In addition to her parents, she is preceded by her late husband Robert Lee (Hiram) Walker Sr.; and two brothers, Ransom Lee Massengill Jr. and Major Wilton Rudolph Massengill.
She is survived by daughter, Roberta Walker Butler and Earl Butler of Hamlet; son, Robert Lee (Bubba) Walker Jr. and Gwyndolyn Martin Walker of Matthews; two sisters, Hilda Massengill Overfelt of Fayetteville and Sarah Massengill Williamson of Raleigh and Ocean Isle Beach; three grandsons, Scott Murray Butler and Amy Scholl Butler of Hamlet, Jonathan Robert Walker and Kelly Estock Walker of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. and Christopher Ryan Walker of Matthews; and one granddaughter, Elizabeth Walker Conley of North Myrtle Beach; eight great-grandchildren, Robert, Renee, Alexander and Samuel Conley of North Myrtle Beach, Garrett and Katie Butler of Hamlet and Andrew and Elliott Walker of Mt. Pleasant. She also is survived by many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, Hamlet.
The funeral will begin at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Deborah Wilkins and the Rev. Jason Darden, her grandnephew, officiating. Burial will follow at Richmond County Memorial Park.
All nurses and DAR members are invited to attend and sit together.
At other times the family will receive friends at the home of her daughter, Roberta Butler, 124 Battley Dairy Road, Hamlet.
A Florence Massengill scholarship is established at the Hamlet First United Methodist Church to honor her memory and dedication to nursing. A memorial can be sent in her name to First United Methodist Church, 300 Charlotte Street, Hamlet, NC 28345.
Harrington Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Walker family.
Online condolences may be made at www.harringtonfuneralhome.com.