Florence Echols Jespersen passed away on February 9, 2018 at her home surrounded by members of her family. She was 95 years old and had been suffering with congestive heart failure. She appreciated and loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom were able to visit or call her during her illness.
Florence was born in Globe, Arizona on June 20, 1922. She was the second of nine children born to Venla (Birdno) and Robert Lee Echols. Most of her younger childhood was spent in Phoenix. When she was 11 years old, the family moved to Tucson and eventually settled in Binghampton. Florence attended Sunday School and Mutual and enjoyed the friendships she established with the youth of the ward. They participated in singing, dancing and other youth activities. It was there that she met Neil Jespersen, one of the local boys who would become the love of her life.
Florence was married to Henry Neil Jespersen on August 2, 1943 in Wenatchee, Washington, while Neil was stationed at Moses Lake AFB. Several months after their marriage, she returned to live with her parents when Neil was sent overseas as a combat pilot. After his aircraft was shot down, Florence spent many agonizing months awaiting news of his capture as a prisoner of war. It would be more than a year before they were reunited.
Following the war, their marriage was solemnized in the Mesa Arizona Temple. She became a widow in 1969 when Neil was killed in a construction accident in Bellevue, Washington. Following Neil’s death, Florence returned to southern California to be near family. She built a home in El Cajon where she raised the four children still with her. She worked hard as a single parent to raise her children and to provide a home for them. She was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in the Mutual, Primary and Relief Society. For several years she was the president of her ward Relief Society.
In 1995, Florence sold her home in El Cajon and built a new home in Orem, Utah. During her later years, Florence was an avid reader and a seeker of knowledge. She worked to learn and develop her talents. She loved her Elder Quest classes and participated in many field trips with them. She became a talented quilter and made many, many quilts which she loved to give to friends and loved ones. Florence was fond of Indian art and collected, as well as made, many things Native American. She loved to raise African Violets and always had an ample supply of plants on hand. She will be remembered for her love of family. She helped to support her grandchildren as they served missions. All of grandchildren and great-grandchildren were always remembered and she continuously tried to show her love for them. Her love and kindness will always be remembered by everyone who was blessed to know her.
Florence is survived by her children Allan ‘Sam’ (Arlene) Jespersen, Leigh (Don) Jones, Dana (Larry) Hicks, Jene (Connie) Jespersen, Robin (Steve) Hulme and Joel ‘Hank’ (Tina) Jespersen. She is also survived by three of her siblings, Malon Echols, Joyce Finlinson and Donald Echols. She was preceded in death by three of her grandchildren: Joseph Jones, Rebekah Jespersen, and Matthew Jespersen; by her parents and several of her siblings: Geraldine Jesperson, Carl Echols, Lorraine Echols, Robert Echols and Anna Bingham.
The family wishes to thank the medical staff and caregivers from St. Luke’s Hospice for the tender loving care given her during the last few weeks of her life.
A viewing for family and friends will be held at the Relyea Funeral Chapel, 318 N. Latah St., in Boise on Tuesday, February 13th, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.
Interment will be at the LDS Binghampton Cemetery, 4001 N. Alvernon Way in Tucson. A graveside service will be held for Florence on Saturday, February 24th, at 11:00 am.