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November 06, 2012 8:43 am

Florence Mary Utter Roberson

(March 8, 1932 - Sept. 29, 2012)

Florence Mary Utter Roberson died quietly in her sleep on Sept. 29, 2012 in Rapid City, S.D., following a lovely reunion with her Billings/Powell family en route back across the country to sunny Florida. She was 80.

Florence was born March 8, 1932 in Powell. She was the second oldest of four children.

She attended Powell schools and graduated as salutatorian of the class of 1950. She was editor of the “Pow-Wow,” the school newspaper, and a member of: Girls and Mixed choirs (over 100 voices), the cheerleading squad, student council, Honor Society, Quill and Scroll and secretary of the Agriculture Department. She was selected as a delegate to Girls State in 1949, voted Juliet for Valentine’s Dance, class officer and awarded Balfour Award for Outstanding Senior by faculty. She also was awarded an honors tuition scholarship to the University of Wyoming.

Despite her humble upbringing, she graduated from high school with honors and graduated in 1952 from Northwest Community College. In college, she met her sweetheart, Alfred Earl Roberson, and after earning their degrees and a whirlwind courtship, they married. Following his tour of duty during the Korean War, Alfred returned home and completed his education at the University of Wyoming, where daughter LeeAnne was born. Following a move back to Powell, Steven was born, and Florence balanced career and children while Alfred held administrative positions at colleges in Wyoming and Klamath Falls, Ore.  

She seemed to be a master of all trades, working as a nurses’ aide in Cody; KGHL Radio Station writer in Billings; Army Medical Hospital clerk in Anniston, Ala.; University of Wyoming Correspondence Department instructor in Laramie; Northwest Community College secretary in Powell; radiology transcriptionist in Klamath Falls, Ore.; and seamstress for anyone who brought her the “idea” for their “perfect” outfit.

Florence was a consummate caregiver. At an early age, she began to embody the name she was christened. She was every bit of a “Florence Nightingale.” Fueled by an early passion for a medical career, she nurtured and cared for many. She was a strong-willed woman who fought for what she believed in, no matter the cost. She was an everyday “Rosie the Riveter” and her “can do” attitude exuded from her little frame and often surprised even the strongest of gentlemen.

She was available at a moment’s notice and was always there to offer a helping hand. If any were ever in doubt, her catch phrase was “Go with the Flo … everybody needs a little help every now and then.”

Florence loved to travel and visit relatives, friends and loved ones. She has traveled across the United States more times than she could count on both hands. She was the consummate baby-sitter and avid mentor of many children. One of her great joys was volunteering as a “SMART Reader” mentor to children in the public school system. She brought her skills to every venue she encountered sharing her experience in gardening, sewing, bowling, card games and life-skills.

In her later days, she spent quality time with her husband, son, daughter, granddaughters, grandson, great-granddaughter, sister, nieces, nephews, friends, and favorite puppy companion, Bambi. She celebrated her 80th birthday in March of 2012 “decorating” Florida while enjoying the tropical weather and new gardening challenges.   

She will be remembered as a fantastic wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many.

She is survived by her husband Alfred Earl Roberson of Klamath Falls, Ore., (originally from Frannie); daughter and family: LeeAnne Thompson, Lee Allen Thompson, Lorie Thompson, Lacie and Charles Van Alstine with great-granddaughter Charlotte Quin of Lakewood Ranch, Fla; son and family: Steven and Sharon Roberson with Samantha and Ryan of Sherwood, Ore.; sister Elaine Lohrenz of Billings; sister-in-law Sharon Utter of Powell; and seven nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father Lester Utter; mother Marian Horn Utter; brothers Floyd Utter and Everett Utter of Powell.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at First Baptist Church in Powell, with Pastor David Pool officiating and burial following at Crown Hill Cemetery. A reception at First Baptist will follow.

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