Florence (Patsy) grew up in International Falls and was known for her warm, outgoing and independent personality. One time as a kid she went downtown in her pajamas. Of course now people go to Walmart in their pajamas all the time.
She was always very thoughtful, doing things for someone that no one else would even think of. In one instance, she heard someone had never had a birthday cake, so she baked them one.
Florence also enjoyed the social scene. She could easily walk into a room full of strangers and be friends with at least half of them before she left. She was always willing to share her thoughts with others and supported her many friends.
In the early 1980’s as a young single mother of three, Florence made ends meet by driving cab to support her family and to fund a Social Worker degree from Confederation College.
Florence was a long-time advocate for the rights of others and strongly believed in the importance of community, caring, roots, workers and human rights, justice, friends, family and tradition. Many years of active CUPE, Labour Council, and NDP involvement were important to Florence. She spoke up for many who didn’t have basic rights or workplace standards met — inspired in part by helping her under-paid co-workers receive vacation-pay benefits from an employer who told her they couldn’t afford it.
Florence served in many CUPE roles from Shop Steward to District President, giving many evenings and days to help ensure fellow workers needs were met. In her work with the Fort Frances and District Association for Community Living she helped generate opportunities for many who were marginalized.
Florence enjoyed bringing her children to work and to volunteer with her and taught them to treat others with respect and shared the importance of giving back to the community. She also encouraged those around her to give of their time and care for others.
Health challenges over the past 25 years slowed Florence down but she continued to help others by phone or visit. She took great delight in her three grandchildren Alana, Jack and Clark.
Her last 4 years were spent in hospital after suffering from a stroke. She was not one to dwell on her ailments-now her pain is gone.
She was preceded in death by her parents William and Margaret Evangeline (Kennedy) Cole; and William Jr. in 1975.
Survivors include brother Rex Cole; six sisters Linda (Ken) Witt, Cheryl (Steve) Larson, Nina (Fred) Cole Smith, Coleen and Carmela (John) Cole Procarione. Children Patrick (Sara) Hunter-Buffington, Tiffany (Lyle) Buffington and Joy (Alan) Buffington Storey.
According to her wishes there will be no services.
The family would prefer memorials to the Rainy River District Women’s Shelter of Hope, P.O. Box 818, Atikokan, ON, P0T 1C0.
Online condolences may be made in care of www.greenfuneralhomefortfrances.com.