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Florence Halstead

1920 - 2018
Florence Halstead Obituary
Florence Rieger McCormick Halstead, of Fayetteville, Ark., passed away peacefully in her sleep after a short illness Tuesday, July 10, 2018, with her family in attendance. She was born Nov. 3, 1920, in Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Frederick and Elizabeth Rieger, the first of their five children. She was raised in Enid, Okla., with her siblings, and attended the Oklahoma College for Women (now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma). She married Edward McCormick in 1942. Her first child, Karen, was born while Edward was in the Army in Italy during World War II. A picture of Florence and her newborn was published in Life magazine in 1944. After the war, she and Edward purchased property in Fayetteville, Ark., and built their home there. Sons James and Daniel came along in 1947 and 1952, respectively. Florence decided to complete her bachelor's degree in secondary education, with science as her major concentration, at the University of Arkansas. Degree in hand, she began her lifelong career in teaching. She continued her education, earning a Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Education while performing as a full-time mother and wife and teaching in a public school system. In 1970, she obtained a teaching position at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, a position she held until her retirement in 1987. She married Dr. Frank Halstead in 1983, and they made their home in Shavertown, Pa. Florence was an avid gardener and became a Master Gardener, specializing in roses. Her home became a popular stop on garden tours. After Frank's death, she moved back to Fayetteville. A lifelong Episcopalian, she rejoined St. Paul's Episcopal Church, doing extensive volunteer work. Friends have described her as highly intelligent and full of humor, with the ability to laugh at herself. Always a dog lover, she had a series of border collies, all of whom adored her. She had an intense interest in music and opera, with a voice that that could produce a large and beautiful sound. She studied voice in college and sang with the Cimmaron Opera group and was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the national music fraternity. She was preceded in death by the father of her children, James Edward McCormick, and her second husband, Dr. Frank Halstead; by her daughter, Karen McCormick Weiss; her son, Daniel Rieger McCormick; and by her siblings, Norma Mae Geddes, Mary Ellen Cummings and Homer Rieger. She is survived by her son, James Edward McCormick Jr., of Fort Collins, Colo., and his wife Linda and their children; her son-in-law, Tom Weiss, of Murrysville, and his children; her daughter-in-law, Mary McCormick, of Fayetteville, and her children; her sister, Elizabeth Boers, of Brevard, N.C.; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was blessed with seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom she doted on.
Visitation was at Moore's Chapel in Fayetteville. A service of the celebration of her life was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville. Private interment was at Chapel Lawn Memorial Park in Dallas, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the , P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123; the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, www.cff.org; or a . To place an online tribute, visit www.mooresfuneralchapel.com.
Published in Murrysville Star on July 19, 2018
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