Florence Virginia White Stratton, the eldest of eleven children, was born in Onancock, Virginia on May 17, 1945. She was the beloved daughter of Matthew and Minnie White. After the death of Matthew in 1946, Minnie married William “Big Bill” Northan, whom Florence lovingly called “Pop.” Florence departed this life at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Onancock, Virginia at the age of 75. She was loving, wise, and lucid to the very end of her life and for this, we give all praise to God.
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Florence was educated in Accomack County Public Schools. She was a hard-working woman who played an essential role in helping to raise her siblings. Florence served as an unofficial midwife helping to assist with the birth of numerous family members and friends. After thirty-three years of service, Florence retired from Perdue and began working as a Missionary full-time. One of Florence’s first Missionary callings was to provide prayer and comfort to the lonely. She accomplished this by calling every number in the telephone book beginning with the letter “A” and asked if they would mind if she prayed for them. She acted as a counselor to those who shared that they were contemplating ending their lives. Others expressed being so grateful for her prayer and asked if she would call them again in the future. Florence served as a prayer warrior, communion steward, usher, choir member, hospitality committee member, Evangelist, altar worker, and the Assistant Pastor at Grace Independent Methodist Church. Her impact and influence all over the county and even the country led her to being elected The Church Mother of Foundation Outreach Ministries. In this position, she begat a plethora of sons, daughters, and grandchildren in the ministry in many states. Florence’s faith never wavered and you could often hear her saying, “Lord, I don’t know; but you know, you know ALL THINGS.”
Florence met Edward Lee Stratton Sr. and the two fell in love. They were married in 1962 and made their home in Wachapreague, Virginia. Six children were born to this union, Edward Jr., Stephen, Tina, Anthony, Felicia, and Marc, and a nephew who rarely went home, Terrance. Although she held many titles, her biggest accomplishment was being a grandmother.
Florence was truly one of a kind! She was known as the community mother, helping to care for and guide children that weren’t biologically hers. Florence selflessly sacrificed to always make things work.
Florence believed children needed a vacation from their parents and parents needed a vacation from their children. That’s when she started a new family tradition, taking her grandchildren and some nieces and nephews on a two week vacation every summer. Now Florence was no novice, so these trips took place immediately after school closed for the summer before the grandchildren got “too wild.” It was important to her that her grandchildren be as well-traveled as she. Florence traveled to Amsterdam, London, Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, Hawaii, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, California, Florida, and many other states. Florence made everyone she came into contact with feel comfortable and appreciated. She lived a happy and full life and enjoyed praying, cooking, completing puzzles, watching westerns, traveling, and cruising the Caribbean. Florence also had a business selling “Blessed Bread.”
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a son, Edward Jr.; grandson, Travis; great-grandchildren, Jonathan and Myel; brothers, Lawrence and Myron; three sisters-in-law, Mary, Catherine, and Amanda; and two brothers-in-law, Alfred and Donald.
Florence leaves to cherish fond memories: her loving husband, Edward Sr.; five children, Stephen Sr. (Sharon), Tina (Walter), Anthony, Felicia, and Marc (Joyce); daughter-in-law, Bessie; seventeen grandchildren, Marcus Sr. (Felicia), Shamara (Kenneth), Sade`(Blake), Amory (Jenee), Christopher, Joshua, Jasmine (Saquan), Stephanie, Isaac, Stephen Jr., Angelique, Stephanus, Edward III, Helena, David Jr., Terrell, and Dsani; fifteen great- grandchildren, Karma, Caylie, Nova, Xinovia, Aria, Kimora, Marcus Jr., Khalil, Kinsley, Carter, Cassidy, Kennedy, Kasira, Kase, and Keri; four sisters, Zelma (James), Chenita, Doreen (Tyrone), and Sherry (Clayfort); four brothers, William Jr. (Shirley), Neuman (Niecey), Bernard Sr. (Sandy), and Kevin (Cheryl); three sisters-in-law, Alice, Hattie (Carlton), and Barbara; one brother-in-law, Gregory Sr. (Bernadette); and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.