Obituaries — Feb. 6, 2024

Joan Canova


Joan F. Canova

Mrs. Joan F. Canova, 88, of Starke passed away Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, at Haven Hospice in Gainesville. She was born March 16, 1935, in Waycross, Georgia to John William and Fredre (Hutchinson) Furlong. After graduating from high school, her family moved to Starke, where she served as secretary at Starke Elementary School for a few years. She and George Alderman Canova were married in November of 1959. They lived at Kingsley Lake for many years. Throughout her life, she served as pianist, organist, and accompanist in various churches. In addition to serving in churches, she taught private piano lessons with end-of- the-year formal recitals. Her level of professionalism was evident throughout the events. Music was her world! In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 37 years, George Alderman Canova Sr., and a brother, Max Furlong.

Survivors are a daughter, Cindy Canova; and a son, George (Cheryl) Canova Jr., both of Starke. She was lovingly called “Ma” by grandsons, William “Parker” Hinson (Rebecca Armstrong) and Christopher “Hunter” Hinson; along with great-grandchildren, Keira Joelle Armstrong-Hinson, Jase Hunter Hinson, and Hollis Cash Hinson.

A graveside memorial service and interment will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17. at Kingsley Lake Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, 32606.

Arrangements are under the care of Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home, 620 E. Nona St. Starke, 32091. 904-964-6200.






Kassidy Carter

Kassidy Carter

Kassidy “Kass” Ember Carter (Atwood), 10, of Starke passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, at her residence. She was born in Orange Park on July 5, 2013, to her loving mother, Kari Marie Carter. She was raised in Kingsland, Georgia and recently relocated to Starke. She loved to explore and loved nature and sunflowers. She loved all animals, especially frogs, lizards, dogs, and cats, and even wanted to own a farm or zoo one day.  She was certainly a girly girl and loved having her nails painted, using cosmetics, and being beautiful just like her mom. She also enjoyed traveling and liked to collect Squishmallows.  She was currently in the fifth grade at Starke Elementary School. More than anything, she loved her family and enjoyed spending time with them.  She was so very loved and will be deeply missed by her family and friends. She was preceded in death by her paternal grandfather, William F. Atwood Jr.

She is survived by parents, Kari Carter and William Atwood of Starke; brother, Tristan Carter; maternal grandparents, Krissy Wigg Massey of Kingsland, Georgia and Robert (Lisa) Massey of Palatka; paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Atwood of Starke; aunts and uncles, Kyle (Amari) Massey of Kingsland, Georgia, Jared (Payton) Massey of Leesburg, and Avery Atwood and Jessica (Robert) Morgan of Starke; and many cousins, extended family members and friends.

A Celebration of Life was held on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Morgan Road Baptist Church with Pastor Gerry Hunter officiating. The family received friends an hour prior at the church. 

Arrangements are under the care and direction of V. Todd Ferreira Funeral Services and Archie Tanner Memorial Chapel, Starke, 904-964-5757. Visit to sign the family’s guest book.




William Criss Jr.

William Franklin Criss Jr. of Starke died Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. He was preceded in death by his father, William Criss Sr.; grandparents; and an aunt and an uncle.

Survivors are his parents, Stephen (Jani) Wall; sisters, Hannah Criss and Charity (Travis) Roberts; and many extended family members.

His memorial will be Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. at The Salvation Army in Gainesville.


Harold Cottom

Harold “Butch” V. Cottom III, 68, of Keystone Heights died at home Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Crystal Cottom.

Survivors are his wife, Barbara
(Tuten) Cottom; seven children; and numerous extended family members.

There are no services scheduled at this time.

Arrangements are by Jones-Gallagher Funeral Homes, 340 E. Walker Drive, Keystone Heights, 32656. 352-473-3176.


Carolyn Francis

Mrs. Carolyn D. Francis, 93, of Hampton passed away at her home on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. She was born June 11, 1930, in Hartford County, Connecticut to Darwin and Ellen (Marsh) Davis. She was a retired banker and a member of the Starke Presbyterian Church. She enjoyed crafts, painting, and cross stitching along with watching her favorite shows on the television. In addition to her parents; she was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Francis; their daughter, Cindy Norman; and granddaughter, Brandi.

She leaves behind her children, Thomas “Tommy” Francis and Martha Van Vleet, both of Hampton. Also left behind are grandchildren, Tahra, Bobby Lee, Jeramy; great-grandchildren, Hailee, Hailynn, MckAylan, Ashlinn, Kendall, Gavin, Nalani and Kawena; along with great-great-grandchildren, Penelope, Austin, Kolby, and Trace.

There will be memorial service held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Starke Presbyterian Church. Interment will be at a later date at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to either the Heart Association or Diabetes Association.

Arrangements are under the care of Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home, 620 E. Nona St., Starke, 32091. 904-964-6200.




Rufus Jefferson Sr.


Rufus Jefferson Sr.

Rufus Jefferson Sr., 73, of Lake Butler, transitioned from this life on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at his home. 

Survivors are his children, Janice (Andre) Ross of Lake Butler, Valerie Jefferson of Saint Paul, North Carolina, and Rufus (Keturah) Jefferson Jr. of High Springs; and a host of family and friends.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at Greater Elizabeth, Missionary Baptist Church, Lake Butler. Interment will be at Fort Call Cemetery, Worthington Springs.

Arrangements are under the care of Combs Funeral Home, Lake City, Florida







John Norman

John C. Norman

John C. Norman, 77, passed away suddenly on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, at Baptist Health South in Jacksonville. He was born Nov. 15, 1946, in Lawtey to Leonard and Sarah Pagett Norman. After graduating from high school, he joined the US Army and proudly served his country for two years. Following his military service, he embarked on a long and fulfilling career as a correctional officer at Union Correctional Institution. He faithfully carried out his duties for over 37 years until his well-deserved retirement in 2003. Outside of work, he loved spending time outdoors hunting and fishing. He also found solace in listening to bluegrass and gospel music that touched his soul. One of his greatest passions was working on home projects, particularly anything mechanical. His hands were always busy fixing things around the house or lending a helping hand to friends and family. Described as outgoing and witty, he had an endearing presence among friends and family. He was also a faithful member of Fellowship Baptist Church. He was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Sarah Norman; as well as his siblings, Carl Norman and Evelyn Griffis. 

He is survived by his loving wife of many years, Linda Norman; two daughters, Donna (JJ) Harvey and Jennifer (Don) Andrews; siblings, Floyd “Bud” (Beadie Mae) Norman and Rachel Prescott; and he took pride in being a “Papa” to his two grandchildren, Taylor Andrews and Chase Shadd.

A service to honor his life was held on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at his church, Fellowship Baptist Church in Raiford. A visitation time began an hour prior to the service. He was laid to rest immediately following the service at Highland First Baptist Church Cemetery in Lawtey with military honors.

Arrangements were under the care and direction of Archer-Milton Funeral Home. 386-496-2008





Margaret Pombier

Margaret Pombier

Margaret A. Pombier, 92, of Jacksonville, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. She now joins her loving husband, James, who predeceased her in death on Feb. 6, 2018. She was born in Lansing, Michigan on Jan. 21, 1932, to James and Mary Cretcher, both of whom were teachers. She grew up in the Midwest, as her parents were teaching in various high schools and colleges. She graduated from Albion College with a teaching degree, and then met the love of her life, James O. Pombier, a U.S. Marine. They married in 1952 and had five children, traveling throughout the country while James served in the Marines for 20 years. She was very busy raising their five children and working as a teacher while James was absent for long periods of time serving in the military. After retiring from the military, they eventually settled in Michigan (Battle Creek and Lansing), where James began a long and distinguished career with Western Southern Life that eventually took them to Panama City and then Jacksonville, where they remained for the remainder of their lives while enjoying many visits from their children and grandchildren for many years who were all the joy of their lives. She was preceded in death by her parents, James R. Cretcher and Mary (Wooton) Cretcher; her brother, James R. Cretcher; and sister, Judith A. (Cretcher} Enos.

She is survived by her five children, James (Terri) Pombier of Madison, Wisconsin, Mary Hoffman Rabb of Jacksonville, Patricia (Lowel) Nash of Lansing, Michigan, Linda (Sam) Drelles of Leland, Michigan, and Philip (Lexa) Pombier of Starke; along with 15 grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and many very special nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews; and a very special life-long friend, June Smith of Georgia.

Throughout her long life, Margaret was a very sweet, kind and loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to everyone. She is remembered for her wonderful sense of humor that came out of nowhere. She was one of those special people who never had an unkind word to say about anyone or anything, a true role model who set the highest example for her family. We are all forever grateful for her dedication to her family and their happiness, and she was a true model of patience and kindness. She will be missed by all those who have been blessed by her life comprising of over 92 years. Her daughter Mary was by her side and her loving caregiver for many years after the passing of James Pombier, who she also cared for with compassion and humanity and the family is forever grateful. She will be laid to rest with her loving husband, James, at Jacksonville National Cemetery at a later date.