Obituaries — Sept. 30, 2021

Debra Beck

MELROSE­ Debra Jean “Debbie” Beck, 61, of Melrose, passed away on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at North Florida Regional Medical Center surrounded by her family. She was born June 19, 1960 in Orlando to William R. Smith and Barbara Durden Smith. Debbie was a member of Believers Worship Center in Melrose and loved her family and friends very much. Her greatest joy was being a part of their lives. She is preceded in death by: her father, William R. Smith; mother, Barbara Durden Smith; sister, Donna Hartwell; and brother, David Hartwell.

She is survived by: her husband, Don “Donnie” Beck of Melrose; nephew, William Scott (Johanna) Hartwell of Interlachen; niece, Melissa Marie Hartwell of Orlando; great-nephew, Logan David Smith of Interlachen; and brother-in-law, Doug Hartwell of Gainesville. She is also survived by many cousins, uncles and aunts from her Durden and Smith families; and brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and nephews from her Beck family; the Smith and Wilson families as well as her church family. She loved you all very much.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Madison Street Baptist Church, 900 W. Madison St., Starke. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the charity of your choice in Debra’s name.

Memories and condolences may be expressed to the family at Debra’s Book of Memories page at

Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.



Robert Bowes

STARKE­ Robert Patrick “Pat” Bowes was born to Doris H. and Stephen M. Bowes Sr. on October 10, 1929 in Pensacola and passed away Wednesday, August 25, 2021 in Starke. He was a loving husband and soulmate to his wife, Mary Gorman Bowes and an amazing father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to many others. He was a member of St. Edwards Catholic Church in Starke. He owned Bowes Office Machines in Jacksonville. He had many genius mechanical skills and construction abilities. He was a published poet. Pat loved the outdoors, boating, fishing, swimming and diving. He was preceded in death by his parents, Doris and Stephen Bowes; siblings, John (Jack) Bowes; Rev., Father, Charles Bowes; and step-daughter, Kelly Schwender.

Survivors include: his wife, Mary; his brother, Stephen M. Bowes Jr.; his children, Kathy Bowes, Nancy (Richard) Rice, David (Jennifer) Bowes, Lisa (Phil) Eppler, Michael (Rhonda) Bowes, Dan Liles; and sister-in-law, Ginny Bowes; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.

In Lieu of flowers, please donate to

Interment will be held at the Jacksonville Veterans National Cemetery, Lannie Road, Jacksonville, on Oct. 12.



Stefan Brokas

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS­ Stefan Alexander Brokas, 72, of Keystone Heights, passed away peacefully at the home of his daughter, Stefanie, on Monday, September 13, 2021 in Lakeland after a brief cancer journey. He was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania on June 24, 1949.  His parents, Alex and Mary Brokas, settled in Keystone Heights in the 1950’s. Stefan and his wife, Celeste Udouj, decided to return to his hometown where his parents, Alex and Mary Brokas still resided in 1977. Stefan is best described by his family as a devoted husband and father, lifelong learner, sports enthusiast, planner, and loyal friend.  Stefan’s pride and joy was his family. Stefan graduated from KHHS in 1967, received his AA from Santa Fe Community College in 1969, his Bachelor’s from West Florida in 1971, and his Masters from University of Florida in 1973. Stefan began his career in education in 1971 in Clay County Schools before moving to Arcadia in 1973 where he met his wife. In 1977 he returned to Clay County Schools where he served KHHS for 35 years in many roles including being a dean of students, math teacher, and driver’s education teacher. His passion for sports included coaching football, girls and boys basketball, cross country, and girls golf. While at KHHS, he started the girls golf team and was the Athletic Director for 6 years (1997-2003) and during that time was instrumental in the building of the new gymnasium. Upon retirement in 2007, he spent another four years teaching math at Florida Youth Challenge Academy (FLYCA). After 2011, he could be found in the community attending KHHS athletic events with his wife, working out at Genesis Fitness, enjoying a senior coffee at McDonalds while planning his next adventure on a napkin; and of course, making frequent trips to Lakeland to visit his children and grandchildren. He was a dedicated member to the Christian Church community for over forty years in his hometown. Throughout his entire life, he exemplified strong moral character. He was fair, honest, and sincere in all of his endeavors.  He was a role model for many, young and old.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Celeste Brokas; three daughters, Marieka (Trevor) Allen of Lakeland, Stefanie (Gerardo) Renovales of Lakeland, Alexis (David) Brokas-Barnie of Lakeland; one son, Nikolas (Anastasia) Brokas of Lakeland; two grandchildren, TJ Allen and Trent Allen. He is also survived by his two sisters, Dianne (George) Leath of Keystone Heights and Christine Brokas of Tallahassee; one brother, Mickey (Nora) Brokas of Duluth, Georgia; and one niece, Missy Brokas of Duluth, Georgia.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Keystone Heights High School Athletic Department c/o Athletic Director–Chuck Dickinson.

A service to remember Stefan will be held at Lake Area Bible Church on October 9th at 11:00 am.



Jeffrey Denton

Jeffrey Gene Denton, 60, of Starke died on Friday, September 24, 2021 at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville. He was born in Gainesville to Willadean Wilson Denton and the late Gene F Denton. He graduated from Gainesville High School. Jeff was a long-time member of First United Pentecostal Church of Starke. He was preceded in death by his father.

Jeff is survived by: his mother, Willadean Denton of Gainesville; loving wife, Penney Denton of Lake Butler; children, Heather (Chris Fox) Morris of Woodbridge, Virginia and Timothy (Jessica) Morris of Orange Park; and four granddaughters.

 Arrangements are under the care and direction of V. Todd Ferreira Funeral Services and Archie Tanner Memorial Chapel, Starke.


Dewayne Dukes

LAKE BUTLER­ Dewayne Donald Dukes, son of Wayne F. and Mildred “Stansell” Dukes, born on March 16, 1962, passed away early Thursday morning, September 23, 2021. Dewayne was a lifelong resident of Lake Butler and worked for the Department of Corrections in maintenance at RMC in Lake Butler for 37 years. Dewayne was an avid outdoors-man; when he was not at work, you could often find him hunting in the woods or fishing on the Santa Fe River. When at home, Dewayne tended to his vegetable garden and enjoyed spending time with his beloved dogs, Molly and Rascal, or at his pig pen with his hog, Spot. Dewayne is preceded in death by his father, Wayne F. Dukes.

He is survived by: his mother, Mildred “Stansell” Dukes; his brother, Michael S. (Katrina) Dukes; his sister, Janet “Dukes” Kirby; his loving wife, Judy “Carroll” Dukes; his two daughters, Sandy “Dukes” (Ryan) Norris and Shelly “Dukes” (Skylar) Teel; his two step-children, Michael (Courtney) Snyder and Brittney (Lane) Bishop; his six grandchildren, Cole, Kenna, Lilly, Liam, Symphony and Serenity; his nephew, Justin; and his three nieces, Kayla, April, and Kinnedy.

A service for Dewayne will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at Lake Butler Church of Christ. Dewayne was laid to rest at Fort Call Cemetery. Dewayne Dukes’s absence is great and he will be dearly missed by many.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Archer-Milton Funeral Home, 386-496-2008



Jimmy Epps

STARKE­ Chief Jimmy Epps, 81, of Starke died on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville. He was born on October 5, 1939 to the late Elmer Epps and Marie Chambers Epps. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and proudly served his country in the Air Force for 20 years and spent three tours in Vietnam and received multiple Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts before retiring.  In 1989, Chief Jimmy figured out his true calling and was elected Chief of Police at the Starke Police Department where he proudly served his city from 1989-2001. Chief Jimmy was a member of Heilbronn Baptist church. He was preceded in death by parents; son, Steve Epps; brothers, Bill Epps and Harold Epps, sister, Helen Epps; and one granddaughter.

Jimmy is survived by: his loving wife of 43 years, Martha Long Epps of Starke; children, Mark (Myla) Epps of Milner, Georgia, Shawna Blom of Starke, and Shae (Carl Alvstad) Epps of Green Cove Springs; brother, Tommy Epps; six grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.

 A Celebration of Jimmy’s life will be held on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m. at Heilbronn Baptist Church where military honors will be rendered, and Pastor Danny Boyd will be officiating. Interment will follow at Crosby Lake Cemetery. The family will receive friends and hour prior to the service at the church.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of V. Todd Ferreira Funeral Services and Archie Tanner Memorial Chapel, Starke.


Dorothy Jackson

STARKE­ Dorothy Mae Jackson, 83, of Starke died on Friday, September 17, 2021 at E.T. York Care Center in Gainesville. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina on September 9, 1938 to the late Lillian Myers. In her early 20’s Dorothy moved to Jamaica Queens, New York where she was proud to serve as the dietary supervisor for St. Joseph’s Hospital. More than anything, Dorothy loved her family and will be missed by all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Lawrence Jones; brothers, John Harden and Charles Harden; and loving husband, James Brown.

Dorothy is survived by her loving brother, Frank Myers, Sr. of Starke; many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, extended family members and friends. 

A Celebration of Dorothy’s Life was held on Friday, Sept. 24 at Archie Tanner Memorial Chapel. Pastor Cynthia Bailey officiated. Internment followed at Pine Lawn Cemetery in New York. 

Arrangements are under the care and direction of V. Todd Ferreira Funeral Services and Archie Tanner Memorial Chapel.


Ozell Johnson

JACKSONVILLE­ Mr. Ozell Johnson, 92, of Jacksonville died on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at the Community Hospice Center in Jacksonville. Born in Lawtey, Mr. Johnson was of the Baptist faith and retired from construction.

Mr. Ozell Johnson is survived by: his wife, Theresa Johnson; daughter, Rozella Johnson Harvey; two sons, Rodell Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson; sister, Ceola Hudson; and eight grandchildren.

Graveside Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Peestsville Cemetery, Lawtey. Interment will be held under the direction of Haile Funeral Home Inc 802 North Oak Street Starke. There will be no viewing at the services. The Cortege will form at the home of Mrs. Ceola Hudson 22537 NE 2nd St. Lawtey at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

We ask that all attendees please wear a face mask.


Douglas Jones

LAWTEY­ Douglas “Doug” Andrew Jones II, age 60, of Lawtey passed away at home with his family by his side after a battle with cancer. Born March 28, 1961, in Starke to Douglas Jones and Hazel McVicker Jones and graduated from Bradford High School in 1979. Doug lived for the last 27 years in Portland, Oregon. He worked at the shipyards doing restoration to many military and civilian owned ships. Doug’s passion was fishing, fresh and saltwater. He learned many of his skills as a boy fishing Kingsley Lake with his dad. He was preceded in death by his mother and father; as well as his two brother-in-laws, Wayne Clemons and George Seeley; and his best friend, Timmy Canady.

Doug leaves behind: two sisters, Kathy Jones Clemons of Heilborn Springs and Brenda Jones Seeley of Lawtey. He leaves behind three nephews and two nieces and many friends.

A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date



Joseph Key

Mr. Joseph Samuel Key passed away peacefully on Friday, September 24, 2021, at home. He was born on October 26, 1945. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army where he served in the Vietnam War. Everyone that knew him always knew him as Sam. He was the kind of person that never met a stranger and was well thought of by everyone that knew him. He loved life and his family. His favorite thing to do was yard work with his wife, Vera, and also going fishing. Sam was the son of the late Rev. Grover Key and Lois Key of Jay, Fl. He is preceded in death by his brothers, Thomas and Bob.

Sam is survived by his wife of 53 years, Vera Key; two sons, Joey and Johnny Key; two granddaughters, Marissa and Kirstyn; his sister, Jean (Tommy) Sapp; and his pet, Blue.

A graveside service was held on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at Sapp Cemetery, Raiford.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Archer-Milton Funeral Home, Lake Butler. 386-496-2008



William Mayberry

DAYTONA BEACH­ Mr. William Mayberry, Jr., 90, of Daytona Beach died Tuesday, September 21, 2021, following an extended illness. He was born in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania May 28, 1931, to the late William and Eva (Wellhausen) Mayberry, Sr. and served in the United States Air Force. He was employed as a Design Engineer by General Electric, the Apollo Program in Cape Canaveral, and retired from Lockheed Martin. He was a member of Westminster By-The-Sea Church in Daytona.

His survivors are: his wife of 69 and a half wonderful years, Ila Lee (Marion) Mayberry of Daytona Beach; and their four children, Alane M. (Bill) Ramsey of Marshall, North Carolina, William (Wanda L.) Mayberry III of Keystone Heights, Leslee A. (Dr. Robert Brown) Brown of Ft. Myers, and Lara L. (Scott) Greer of Marshall, North Carolina; along with his 91 year old sister, Alice Gribble of Orlando; ten grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life was held on Sept. 25 in the Funeral Home Chapel. Pastor Jason Stephens officiated. Interment was held Sept. 26 at the Keystone Heights Cemetery.  

Arrangements are by Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home, Keystone Heights.


Jamie McGee

Jamie D McGee, December 28, 1959 –  September 19, 2021. Beloved husband, loving father, adored grandfather, cherished brother and treasured uncle. Jamie passed away peacefully at UF Health Shands Hospital on September Sunday, September 19, 2021, at the age of 61.
Jamie was born in Eau Gallie, Florida to the late James and Helen McGee.

Jamie was a beloved husband of 42 years to Karen; a loving father to Heather (Matthew) Baxter of Keystone Heights, James McGee of Jacksonville, WM. Daniel (Mandy) McGee of Belleview and Robert McGee of Belleview; adored grandfather of Kaleb, Nathan, Tyson, Cohen, Virginia Baxter, Ethan Elder and Patrick McGee;  cherished brother of James McGee of Texas, Michael McGee of Ohio and Shawn McGee (deceased).

Jamie served 20 years in the United States Nuclear Navy on Boomer and Fast Attack Nuclear powered submarines as a Nuclear Electrician, Submarine Nuclear Propulsion Plant Supervisor, Radiological Controls and Nuclear Planner. He earned navy and marine achievement metals, sea service deployment, Battle “E” Sharp Shooter and Marksman.
Jamie’s career continued with Seminole Electric of Palatka as a Senior Maintenance Planner. Jamie was deeply loved and his humor, laughter and love of life will be forever missed by those who knew and loved him., 352-475-2000



Anthony Nichols

Mr. Anthony “Tony” Clark Nichols, 25, of Keystone Heights died at his residence Thursday, September 16, 2021. He was born May 22, 1996, in Cape Coral and worked in the retail business. He was a Christian. Tony’s father, Nelson Clark Nichols III, preceded him in death.

His survivors are: his mother, Patricia “Patti” (Carter) Johns and her husband, Michael of Citrus Springs; a brother, Carter (Emma) Nichols; and half-brothers, Zain Nichols and Bryson Nichols. Also left behind is his step-mother, Melanie (Reynolds) Nichols of Keystone Heights; maternal grandparents, Robert and Geraldine Carter of Daytona Beach; and paternal grandfather, Nelson Clark Nichols, Jr. of Arizona.

There are no scheduled services at this time.

Arrangements are by Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home of Keystone Heights.


David Norton

Mr. David Norton, age 66, passed away after a brief illness on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at Baptist Downtown Jacksonville. David was born June 7, 1955, in Conneaut, Ohio to Isaac and Evelyn Norton. He grew up in Wisconsin and was a proud member of the Odawa Native American Tribe. In 2015, David and his family moved to Baker County. Being a truck driver for 20 plus years, David started driving for Pritchett Trucking. David enjoyed being on the road but loved coming home even more. David also enjoyed sitting around playing his guitar and singing. He was a great man who would go above and beyond for anyone. He is preceded in death by his parents, Isaac and Evelyn Norton; and brother, Frank.

David is survived by: his wife, Leia; his children, Preston “Bubba” (2), Sage (12), Wyatt (15), Claudia (17), Austin (19), Breanna (21), Jason (Jenny), Christopher Adam (Kara), David John, Don (Tyra), Justin (Stephanie), and Forrest (Melissa); his siblings, John, Sam, and Bonnie; 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A service for David will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at Archer-Milton Funeral Home, Lake Butler. The family will receive friends for a visitation beginning at 5 p.m.

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



Oleda Smith

STARKE­ Oleda Beatrice “Bea” Smith, 96, a longtime resident of Starke died on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 in Asheville, North Carolina. She was born on October 21, 1924 in Covington, Virginia to the late Hida Felix and Mabel Celia (Kemper) Jones. Bea was a homemaker and will be remembered for her faith in God, teaching Sunday school for decades. Preceding her in death was her husband of 69 years, Fred D. Smith; and her son, A. Wayne Smith.

Survivors are: her son, C. David (Lanay) Smith; daughter, Barbara Ann (Scott) Biron; and her three adored grandchildren.

Funeral services will be a private graveside celebration of mom’s life. Pastor Wayne Spratlin will officiate.

Arrangements are by Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home of Starke.


Russell Thornton

Russell “Popeye” Thornton, age 48, passed away Monday, September 20, 2021, at Putnam Community Medical Center following a brief illness. He was born September 26, 1972 in Gainesville to Kathy Nell (Prescott) Drawdy and Russell Oliver Thornton, Sr. and raised in Brooker. Popeye graduated from Bradford High School in 1991. His occupations included varying areas in construction and mechanic work. Popeye enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was a brilliant mechanic and enjoyed fishing, NASCAR and grilling on the weekends. In addition to his parents he was also preceded in death by his stepfather, Forest “Doc” Drawdy.

His survivors are: his brother, Christopher Thornton of Alachua; two sons, Collin Thornton and Brandon Thornton both of Middleburg; stepdaughters, Sierra Brown, Ashley Brown, Brandy Brown Santiago, Destiny Wood and Emerald Wood all of Keystone Heights. Also left behind are his four precious grandchildren; as well as several other friends and family. Popeye also leaves behind his loving wife of 10 years, Heather Wood of Interlachen.

Funeral services for Popeye will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1, in the DeWitt C. Jones Chapel with Pastor Ron Sanderson officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the services. The family has also requested that bright colors, blue jeans, or FSU attire be worn to the service. Interment will follow at Dedan Cemetery.

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



Edward Wainwright

MELROSE­ Mr. Edward Joseph “Eddie Joe” Wainwright, Jr., 85, a lifelong resident of Melrose passed away at his home Monday, September 20, 2021, following an extended illness.  He was born October 18, 1935 in Kingsley Lake to Edward Joseph and Curtis (Roundtree) Wainwright, Sr.  and served in the United States Air Force. Prior to retirement, Mr. Wainwright was employed by the Department of Defense Communication’s Department. Mr. Wainwright grew up in Melrose, attended Melrose School and Eliam Baptist Church where he married Susy Roundtree. He loved antique cars and spending time with his family. In addition to his parents he was also preceded in death by a son, Randall Allan Wainwright. 

His survivors are: his loving and devoted wife of 66 wonderful years, Susy (Roundtree) Wainwright of Melrose; and their son, Edward Joseph “Joey” Wainwright III of Texas. He was lovingly called “papa E.J.” by Edward Joseph Wainwright IV, Randall Allan Wainwright II, Jenny Butler, and Sherry Munn; in addition to four great-grandchildren.

There are no scheduled services at this time.  In lieu of flowers please make a memorial donation to Community Hospice.

Arrangements are by Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home 340 E. Walker Dr., Keystone Heights. (352)473-3176.