Obituaries November 28, 2013

Published on: November 27, 2013

Billie Jeannette DeFord

Billie Jeanette DeFord, 75, of Sun City Center, Fla. passed away November 20, 2013 after failing health of six months. Billie was married to Robert N. DeFord for 53 wonderful years.

Billie was a skilled seamstress and designer of clothing. She crafted band, cheerleading uniforms, wedding apparel and countless other creative endeavors. She provided nurturing and loving guidance to her children and grandchildren. Billie was preceded in death by her parents Nettie Jeanette Oliver and Johnny Clyde Oliver, Sr.; brother Johnny Clyde Oliver, Jr.; sister Linda Clynelle Weed; and loving niece Terry Diane Lacman.

Together she and Robert raised three children, Debra Cheek Blalock and husband Kevin Willis, Robert N. DeFord, Jr. and partner Dawn Hawk, Julie Renee Chawner and husband James Chawner. She is survived by grandchildren Nicholas Lee Blalock, Aaron Lynn Blalock, April Marie Bergmann, Kenneth  Charles Bergmann, Danielle Renee Chawner, Lindsey Nicole DeFord Campion, and Dylan Robert DeFord; great grandchildren Kenneth Joseph Bergmann, Bella Rose Bergmann, Wyatt James Funk, and Michael Alan Campion, Jr; and sisters Helen Marie LaMar, and Nella Mae Whittemore.

Graveside service were held Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Fellowship Cemetery, Lithia, Fla. Arrangements by Sun City Center Funeral Home.


Helen Janette Fleischman

Helen Janette Fleischman, 92, born in Mayo, Florida and longtime resident of Sun City Center, passed away November 16, 2013. 

She attended Florida Southern College and then spent two years modeling in New York City.  She was a straight-forward lady with a special fondness for orchids, cats, and country music. She was also a skilled golfer, winning multiple course championships in Sun City Center and Bradenton. 

While living on Anna Maria Island, she was an avid sports fisher as well, sharing many years of happiness with husband “Salty” Sol Fleischman. She was preceded in death by her husband “Salty” Sol; son Michael H. Sweat; brothers Bennett, Harold, Harvey, Hayward and Robert Elsberry. 

She is survived by sons Don Corwin, Jr., Marty (Susan) and Sol (Sandra) Fleischman, Jr.; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; cousins Willard Elsberry and Barbara Culbreath; and special friend Georgia Mace amongst many others. 

Although she requested that no services be held, donations may be made to C.A.R.E. Animal Shelter in Ruskin, Fla.


John ‘Jack’ R. Graser

John ‘Jack’ R. Graser, 79, of Sun City Center, passed away November 8, 2013 from complications of heart surgery. Jack had an exciting and full career as an executive of American Airlines working in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

In 1990 he retired to Florida to take up golf and work at perfecting his tennis game in tournaments in Florida and throughout the country.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the National Cremation & Burial Society, 308 E. College Ave. in Ruskin.


George W. Latta

George W. Latta, 96, of Sun City Center died on Wednesday, November 21 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

He was born on December 4, 1916 in Logan, Iowa, son of Walter and Amelda Carson Latta.

He married Elaine Marie Hummel on June 25, 1943 in Davenport, Iowa. She died in 2004.

Interment will take place in Logan Cemetery, Logan, Iowa.  Memorials may be made to Cedar Falls Western Home Foundation or Cedar Valley Hospice.

Condolences may be left at


Mary ‘Molly’ Mansfield Campbell Smeaton

Mary ‘Molly’ Mansfield Campbell Smeaton, of Huntersville, North Carolina, died November 23, 2013. She died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family. She was born February 22, 1922 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She graduated from Columbia University Presbyterian School of Nursing in 1943. It was there that she met her late husband Jim, a Columbia University football player in the hospital with a broken leg.

Her nursing career spanned 45 years including pioneering the Continuing Education Department of St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. She held numerous offices, including president of District 13 Florida Nurses Association and was active in the Florida chapter of the American Red Cross. Molly kept an active nursing license until 80 years of age. She was a member of the altar guild of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, Florida of which she was a member since 1958.

She had a spirit of adventure and was a world traveler in her later years. Molly never met a stranger and was a friend, nurse and confidant of many. She spent six wonderful years as ‘one of the girls’ on Grayston Place, Sun City Center, FL playing cards, celebrating birthdays and enjoying life. She was an active member of the St. John the Divine Episcopal church family. She volunteered for many causes and was a hospice volunteer until moving to Huntersville, North Carolina in November 2012.

She is survived by her sister Flora Jespersen of Harrisburg, Pa.; children Jim (Linda) Smeaton of Riverview, Fla., Meg Smeaton of Huntersville, N.C., Suzanne Smeaton Gillespie (Ken) of New York City, N.Y. and Phyllis Smeaton, RN, of Huntersville, N.C.; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association via or Hospice of Lake Norman, 705 Griffith St., Suite 203, Davidson, NC 28036 or via

A memorial service was held  November 25 in Huntersville at the James Funeral Home.

Molly’s remains will be interred in the family plot in St. Peter’s Cemetery, New Brunswick, N.J. on February 22, 2014.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff of Hospice for their compassionate care.


Stewart Clinton Smith

Stewart Clinton Smith, 72, formerly of Ruskin, died November 12, 2013 at home in Piedmont , Ala.

He leaves behind son Marshall K. Smith; daughters Laurie A. Smith and Iris L. Smith, both of Piedmont, Ala.; three grandchildren; two great- grandchildren; sisters Sharon L. Toole of Ruskin and Judy Buzzell of Port Orange, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

No services were held.


Ann Elizabeth Wright

Ann Elizabeth Wright, 88, of Sun City Center, Florida passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at Southern Comfort Assisted Living after a long battle with cancer. 

Ann is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Carol and Tony Holbrook.  She will be missed.

Ann was born in the Bronx, New York City to Anna Elizabeth and Mercer Wright on February 27, 1925 but lived most of her life in Maryland.  She enjoyed swimming, boating, bridge, knitting and crocheting.  Ann worked for many years for the telephone company and then as a Realtor. 

She moved to Sun City Center, Florida with her daughter and son-in-law in 2000 where she enjoyed walking, pickleball and line-dancing.

Many thanks to the staff of Southern Comfort Assisted Living in Ruskin, Florida and LifePath Hospice, Sun City Center, Florida for all of your care, love and support.  Also, many thanks to Sun City Center Funeral Home.