DEWEY, Ariz. —
Florence Law passed peacefully in her sleep Saturday, October 6th, 2012. She joined her lifelong love James R. Law who preceeded her 9 years ago this month.
They met when she was 16, although by some accounts she wed at 7 as she occasionally distorted her age a bit since she didn’t want to be treated as an old lady.
In her mind, she was always 30, and she acted with that energy her whole life.
Their 71st wedding anniversary would have been October 11th. She died in her home in Dewey, Arizona as she wanted. Her son Jon had just been visiting her that day before she went to bed.
Florence was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1920, but she and “Big Jim” moved to Clinton in 1946 and started their family of 4 boys. James Law in Colorado, Jon Law in Arizona, Jeff Law in Texas and Jay Law in Indiana, who all graduated from CHS.
They also “adopted” Florence’s younger brother Carl for 2 years, so that he could attend Community College in Clinton.
James Law was a teacher, a coach, and an administrator at CHS for nearly 40 years who started Adult Education and Night High School in Clinton County.
He was in charge of many homes constructed by the high school Industrial Arts classes, built in Galbraith Acres over time. He also insured that many in Night School found employment in local industries and worked colluding with the Community College to further extend anyone’s desire to continue their education.
The Laws made inumberable friends in Clinton. They each served others quietly in their own ways, throughout their 40 yrs thriving in Clinton.
They attended the 1st Methodist church for 40 years, and were members of the former Clinton Boat Club where they held decades of joyous parties throughout the seasons and watched over Hymie the Dutch custodian, as they could.
They looked in on and visited many retired or widowed teachers that taught at CHS during their time in town.
They golfed at Valley Oaks, bowled at the Recreation Lanes and played countless bridge games over time with much laughter and verve.
They sponsored a Cuban family in the 60’s escaping that regime, and hosted a foreign exchange student from Brazil after their children grew up and left Clinton.
Florence started Kiddie Kampus Nursery School in 1962 in her home on Bobetta Court after moving there from Pershing Street in 1956.
The entry sign for Bobetta Court was made by Jim Law and still stands.
Kiddie Kampus was the first pre-school in Clinton that taught the children lovingly through play. Florence taught herself both business and educating young minds long before women started their own business, and she enjoyed that time immensely as she recently mentioned “they were the best years of my life”.
She studied at the former Mt. St. Clare College to boost her understanding and to fulfill state requirements. She offered special enrollment for those who could not pay full price for her care.
The little children learned about other cultures, about kindness, tolerance, fairness, and she even had foreign language classes as the kids were busy learning their ABC’s through song and dance and always carefully monitored play.
She gave her grandchildren toys every visit from the nursery school’s vast assortment.
The kids had full graduations with caps and gowns and Jim Law made playground equipment that rivaled Clinton’s city parks for the kids to play on.
As one former mother commented on Facebook recently “Mrs. Law was told our daughter was bossy when we enrolled her. Mrs. Law smiled and told us that she was just a leader, and she did indeed turn out to be just that”.
Another comment on FB 2 weeks ago was that Mrs. Law was her favorite teacher of all time. She was as loving as she was beautiful.
Florence retained close ties with people from the decades they spent in Clinton, and she outlived most of them.
She always loved her yard and her neighbors, where she organized neighborhood summer picnics yearly and often community decorations at Christmas. She kept in touch with many that moved out of town.
She adored the lilacs, tulips and iris’s in Spring, and decorated for all the seasons abundantly expessing her love and gratitude for the changes and their blessings.
She could shame Martha Stewart on her creativity, building charm into the home that hosted so many reunions and get togethers.
She missed the rolling green hills and forests after she and Jim moved into retirement to Arizona. She especially missed the turning Fall leaves of Clinton, the Mississippi River, and the towering river bluffs that she remembered long after they moved.
The Law’s planted countless maples, birches , firs, and oaks in their once naked yard which ultimately influenced 1 son to become a landscaper.
She fondly remembered the beautiful historic buildings that Clinton was well known for and they chose a town in Arizona that mirrored Clinton.
Old Prescott is the only town in Arizona that resembles Clinton.
Florence especially loved River Front Park , Eagle Point park where many picnics and parties were held for family and friends. She loved shopping in downtown at Roses and Lou Marges and Klines and Van Allens.
A downtown that Clinton’s forefathers wisely built so astutely and beautifully she taught her sons . She continued to subscribe to Iowa magazine and gifted her sons with the magazine also to remind them of their roots as they grew up and moved away also.
In Prescott she again volunteered her services at community hospitals, a senior care center that ultimately helped take care of Big Jim, and the Methodist church.
They planted lilacs, tulips and iris’s again.
Here the Law’s sponsored a Chinese family who moved to the U.S in the 1980’s. At the age of 90 she was still helping others less fortunate.
Although she was a shut in her last year, she started a drive to help the victims of the Joplin, Mo. tornados.
She leaves her 4 sons, 8 grandchildren, countless great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews and some grand dogs behind to grieve her , and to honor her beauty, kindness, charm, strength,faith, and loving nature.
Every card she sent seemed to include a Bible verse to help someone find some peace.
She was an example of the great American Dream come true in a town she and her husband loved so much.
She will be remembered as she remembered so many others, profoundly, gracefully, elegantly.
Into God’s, and her husband’s and countless friend’s loving arms we return her to laugh with them all again .God bestowed so many blessings upon her and through her, to us all. She had no idea that she ever had much impact on others.
She now knows the Truth.
God will be tickled to have such a powerful example of his love come back Home. She is a child he loved greatly as she loved all the children that came her way.
She has returned, in the Autumn, her favorite time of the year for her anniversary with Big Jim. She knew her sons and family are all fine now, and her job here was completed.
Another change of Season for those of us who positively adored her. Every leaf sings a beautifully colored Amen, as if kissed by her goodbye.
She asked that any gifts be sent to the Susan J. Rheem Adult Day Center. 3407 North Windsong Drive, Prescott Valley, Arizona 86314.