On May 13, 1928, a firecracker like no other was born to this unsuspecting world. She arrived on Mother’s Day, the seventh child of Eleanor May Ladd Drew and Isaac “Ike” Walker Drew. She grew up on a farm in Ladd’s Mills, QC., and with her siblings, helped with the daily chores. She decidedly cursed the day that "chicken wrangler" became her designation!
At age four, her frequent interruptions at the neighboring one-room schoolhouse, wanting to know when the kids would come out to play, led the teacher to admit her, albeit prematurely, as a first-grade student. She loved riding her Uncle Loren’s old swayback horse and playing in the farm's creek with her sister and lifelong best friend, Doris. By high school, dancing the Jitterbug and Lindy Hop to the Big Bands at Burrows Falls, and teaching the younger lads how to do them, had become a passion. This was during the height of World War II, so there wasn’t a large selection of boys to choose from, but as any Drew would tell you, you just had to make do with what you had.
Becoming an RN was just the direction this efficient, compassionate, intelligent multi-tasker needed, so from 1946 to 1949, Florence studied nursing at Brightlook Hospital in St. Johnsbury, VT. Upon achieving RN status, she began her career in the private sector, and moved on to the St. Johnsbury Hospital. She eventually left the hospital to manage a nursing home “start-up” and then become a Diagnostic Auditor for the State of Vermont. Finally, the St. Johnsbury Convalescent Center hired this gem as their Director of Nursing, and then Administrator, before she retired in 1993.
Florence met Alphonse Gauthier, Jr. (pre-deceased 2001) while in nurses training. She told of how Alphonse, an accomplished Piper Cub pilot, used to do “fly-overs” when she and her fellow nurses would sunbathe on the hospital roof! Florence and Al were married on April 18, 1949, and lived in St. Johnsbury throughout their working lives, raising three loving children; Suzanne, Cynthia and Andrew.
Florence inherited her Mother's love of books, literature and poetry. In retirement, to help support the arts, she volunteered as a docent with the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.
Her quick, acerbic wit, contagious laughter, sense of adventure, strength, wisdom and kindness will be missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her children, grandchildren (Christopher, Chad, David Conant, and Hilary Conant Crowell), five great grandchildren, whom she adored, but who really adored her even more, and a large extended family.
The family would like to express gratitude to Dot Robinson and Sandy Turman, Jan Farrah and Karen Edwards, the Canterbury Inn facility and staff. Special thanks to Dr. Joyce Dobbertin, and the Caledonia Home Healthcare and Hospice.
Due to Covid 19, a Celebration of Life will be scheduled for a future date.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations sent to Caledonia Home Healthcare and Hospice, 161 Sherman Drive, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 / 800-499-8116
Florence would have approved her remembrance to include "generous and unsolicited acts of kindness to all, given freely and often."
Memories and condolences may be shared with family at saylesfh.com.
Caledonia Home Health Care & Hospice
161 Sherman Drive, St. Johnsbury VT 05819
marked for 'Hospice'