Florence Eva Compton, Nana Flo to many, was born on December 14, 1946 in
Prescott, Arizona to Samuel and Dorothy Reese. She was the second born of four
children: Marjorie, Arlene, and Lloyd. From the time Florence was a little girl, she was a
caretaker. She would help her mother around the house, making lunches for her father
and looking after her younger siblings. This continued throughout her life with her own
family and many others that she adopted as her own.
Florence was a force to be reckoned with. She had a love for adventure from a young
age. She wouldn’t take no for answer and would rather ask for forgiveness than
permission. Her sister Marjorie said that she was constantly scaring the life out of their
mother with her antics. Their mother had told the children not to go to the rock pit down
from their house in Prairie Point because swimming there was too dangerous, seeing as
none of them knew how to swim. Florence, being Florence, took this as a challenge.
She built a raft and all four siblings went down to the rock pit. From this outing and
many more like it, everyone of them learned to swim. Her adventurous spirit didn’t stop
there. She loved traveling and seeing different places. One of her favorite trips to talk
about was going to Hawaii. She was able to spend countless hours on the beach and
participate in her favorite activity of swimming. Even during the last days of her life, she
was still talking about taking a cruise with her family and having her grandchildren enjoy
the ocean and maybe even scuba diving.
Florence had a love of family. She was a proud mother of two sons, Michael and Brad.
Florence didn’t think that she was able to bear a child and was blessed through the
adoption of Michael while living in Oklahoma. About a year later, Florence was shocked
to find out that she was blessed once again. This time with a biological son, Brad.
Florence not only raised her own children, but others that she took in as her own.
Florence loved her grandchildren more than life itself, and was so excited to find out she
was going to be a great-grandmother this past November. She said it had been too long
since she was able to rock a baby, as her youngest grandson was five years old.
She enjoyed having get-togethers at her house and grilling in the backyard. She wanted
everyone to have a good time, no matter the occasion. Florence was famous on her
block for being the house to go trick-or-treating at. She prepared for the holiday weeks
in advance. Seeing all the children enjoy the decorations and pass out candy ‘til all
hours was one of the highlights of her life. Florence loved all holidays, preparing meals
for everyone to enjoy was a precious to her. Her dressing at Thanksgiving was famous.
It was a long and hard job, but she never complained and would even make extra to
give to take home. Christmas was a very special time at her house. She took great pride
in setting up the Christmas tree, but especially setting out the manger. It was a great
responsibility to set up the nativity scene at Nana’s house. She would tell the story of
the birth of Jesus, as if she was sitting next to the manger. If you were the one she
picked to set baby Jesus as the last piece, you knew you were special.
Florence had a strong work ethic that never stopped. She helped her family on the farm
in Prairie Point as a child and in her teens. She started working at a young age at
various jobs in Groesbeck to help make ends meet. After marrying,, she helped to run a
very successful business in Oklahoma City and on the beach in Surfside. Florence was
not one to run away from a challenge. This was evident when she went back to school
to obtain her nursing degree from Navarro College as a single mother with two young
sons. Florence could not have picked a more perfect profession. Her nurturing nature
was felt to all of her patients in the nursing homes in Groesbeck and at Mexia State
School. Everyone who know her knew that she would have made her namesake,
Florence Nightingale, proud. Florence felt that people needed to be treated with respect,
especially at times when they could not speak for themselves. Families of her patients
have commented that not all of the nurse’s aides liked her, but the families loved her
because they knew she would treat their loved ones as her own.
As much as Florence loves nursing, she found her passion when she starting
babysitting as something to keep her busy after a leg injury kept her from working long
shifts. Marla was her first baby, with Kenli joining the fun at Nana’s house shortly after.
This is where the name Nana Flo became a staple for anyone who met her in the future.
From this point on, Nana Flo welcomed Kadon, Gunner, Graden, Kannon, and Nick to
the fun and excitement. Even though Florence didn’t travel as much in her later years,
there was always adventure at Nana’s house. From her installing a pool big enough to
take up the backyard to making babies out of overgrown squash from the garden, there
was never a dull moment. She introduced all of her “babies” to music meant for the soul.
It was not unusual to find Nana playing Dwight Yoakam (her favorite singer), Johnny
Cash, or the Beach Boys on her back porch while the kiddos danced around and sang
right along with her.
In Florence’s later years, she found happiness working in her garden, planting flowers,
and feeding the hummingbirds. She loved baseball and going to watch her babies play.
People always knew when Nana was there and no one was ever real sure what she
would say. She was nothing if not entertaining.
This all changed 4 years ago when Florence’s past came sweeping back into her life.
Jimmy Compton was Florence’s long, lost love. In January of 2014, she was
reintroduced to Jimmy. They met at Chuy’s (one of her favorite restaurants) and as they
say, the rest is history. As much as she said she didn’t need anyone else to take care
of, Jimmy stuck around. They married on June 25, 2014. They were by each other’s
side ever since. Jimmy even made it through Kenli’s approval, which is a hard feat in
Florence Eva Compton was a vivacious woman, who brought life to any room she
entered. Majorie hit the nail on the head when she said she was always full of fun!
Florence could spin a story like no one we ever knew. She wasn’t perfect. She would let
those closest to her know of her heartaches and frustrations, especially with the “dolts”
of the world. But to the many who knew her, there wasn’t a better person with a bigger
heart or a larger life personality. Florence accepted Christ at an early age, but became
much closer to the Lord in the last five years. She was not afraid to leave this earth,
maybe sad to not be by Jimmy’s side or to see her babies grow up, but excited to be in
a place of unconditional love and rejoicing.