Florence Delores Loftin was born to Oscar Elijah and Callie Luvenia Loftin on Nov. 13, 1936, in Shreveport, LA. She went to meet her Lord and loved ones gone before her on Aug. 10, 2017, surrounded by her children and other family members.
Florence was a beautiful lady, known for her quick wit and sense of humor. She was a model of kindness and grace, regardless of adversity or circumstance. The legacy of her life speaks for itself, and would write as a great novel of love and happiness, sadness and heartache, kindness and compassion, forgiveness and understanding, family and friendships, left-overs and pot-lucks, travels and reunions.
Growing up the eldest of six siblings, sons and daughters of a fiery Irish minister and his wife, Florence spent her time singing with her sisters and friends at church and camp meetings, and, later, with the vocal trio at La Grange High School in Lake Charles. After graduating with honors in 1955, she attended McNeese State University on a music scholarship where she met R.H. "Buddy" Dressler. They entered into marriage on May 31, 1957.
After graduating from McNeese, Buddy and Florence felt a call to the ministry. They made the decision to pack their belongings and move to Rock Island, Illinois, where they would attend seminary and start a family. In 1959, Buddy and Florence moved to beautiful Natchitoches, LA. They built a small church in Natchitoches, continued to grow their family, and pastored for the next thirteen years. In 1972, Florence and Buddy accepted the pastorate of the Bible Missionary Church in Duncan, OK, and would serve as teachers and mentors at the associated Duncan Christian School. Florence managed the duties of homemaker and pastor's wife while teaching classes at DCS, furthering her educational studies, and ministering musically, both through her singing and playing. She gave vocal and piano lessons to numerous students.
Florence began teaching 2nd grade at Empire Elementary School in 1979, eventually becoming the Reading Specialist for the school. She served as President of the Stephens County Reading Council, the Empire Education Association, and the Duncan Music Club, where she received the Woman of the Year Achievement Award and was nominated as candidate for the American Association of University Women. She was elected President of the International Reading Association and was recognized for Outstanding Achievement and Accomplishment in the Advancement of Women and Service to the Community.
Florence and Buddy relocated to Oklahoma City in 1991, where Buddy pastored Shields Church of the Nazarene, and Florence again served as pastor's wife while teaching at Kingsgate Elementary in Moore. She continued to actively serve the church until Buddy's untimely death in 1997. After retiring from teaching in 2001, Florence served as Director of Children's Ministries and Women's Ministries at Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City. She later served as assistant to Dr. Stan Toler until her re-retirement in 2006.
Florence's quest for excellence is reflected in her academic success - she maintained a 4.0 in her graduate work while earning double Master's Degrees from Cameron University and the University of Oklahoma - and in her numerous citations for community service. The better testament to Florence's talent as a mentor and educator, however, was her unending drive to share and inspire others.
Florence was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Randolph Hearst Joseph Dressler Jr., her mother and father, Luvenia Allen Loftin and Oscar Elijah Loftin, father and mothers-in-law, Randolph Hearst Joseph Dressler, Daisy Emert Dressler, and Lucy Brantley Dressler, her sister, Ruth Hazel Davis McDaniel, sisters-in-law, Honore Faithe "Tootsie" Burton, Grace Abrahams Burge, and brothers-in-law, James Larry Davis, Irvin Alexander Burge, Winfred Edison Burge, Stephen Anthony Franklin, Francis Arden Dressler, and Lindell McDaniel.
Florence was joined in death the evening after her passing by her brother, Bernard Wayne Loftin.
Florence is survived by many family members, including her children; Wynona Faith Dressler and Robert Albert Pena of St. Louis, MO, Cynthia Ruth Dressler Baker and Lance Randall Baker of Bedford Texas, Randolph Hearst Dressler III and Jessica Nicole Slater of Duncan, and Mark Lane Dressler and Brecca Wells Dressler of Duncan.
Also, by her grandchildren, of whom she was so proud, and loved so much; Candace Dieudonnee' Baker Hannon and
Chad Thomas, Christian Delores Baker Reynolds and Jacob, Coleton Dean Baker and Kaitlin Marie Smith, Chad Michael
Dueitt and Phiphi Nugyen, Randolph Blake Dressler and Tina Armstrong Shepard, Abigail Dressler Ballard and Daniel, Rachael Dianne Dressler and Colton Michael Ballard, Sarah Ruth Dressler Rochelle and Ryan, Cason Michael Nix, Quentin Beaux Slater, Hadley Morgan Nix, Logan Lane Dressler, and Hudson Lee Dressler.
Also, by her great-grandchildren; Jaxon Lee Reynolds, Grayson Dean Reynolds, Elijah Daniel Ballard, Ezekiel Rand Ballard, Jaydon Leo Dressler, Noah Blake Dressler, Adaley Jade Ballard, and Emerson Ruth Hannon.
Florence is also survived by brothers and sisters, Mary Elizabeth Loftin Donoho and Vernice, Charles Raymond Loftin and Elaine Stahl Loftin, and Mildred Lucille Loftin Franklin, also by sisters and brothers-in-law Georgiann Dressler Compton and Billy, Everett Waddell Burge, Jan Cagle Dressler, Linda Phillips Loftin, and Natalie Burge, and by her close friend and caregiver, Cynthia Ann Long.
Florence is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and many friends and acquaintances. Her life was a treasure and she was deeply loved.
Services will be held at Marlow First Baptist Chapel at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, under the direction of Bailes-Polk Funeral Home, with the Rev. Billy Morgan officiating. Family visitation is at the Chapel on Thursday, August 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Published on August 15, 2017