Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Florine, also known as Flo, celebrated her 93rd birthday on September 23rd of this year. The Lord took her hand on Wednesday, November 25th while at home in the presence of her children.
Flo was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, the middle daughter of three. Sadly her youngest sister, Evaline, succumbed to pneumonia at the tender age of three. Flo’s father, Benjamin Edward Newberg, was a postal carrier and was of Swedish descent. Her mother, Eva Lillian Bennie, was a homemaker and was of Scot-Irish Descent. Flo had a quiet childhood, was a tomboy, and enjoyed spending time in the workshop with her dad who was an excellent carpenter.
After graduating from High School, Flo attended North Texas Agricultural College (now UTA) for two years. It was there that she met her husband-to-be, Walter Jones Hopkins, Jr. also of Fort Worth. They were married June 6, 1947. Having earned his bachelor’s degree, “Hoppy” accepted a teaching and coaching position at the High School in Lovington, New Mexico. They resided there until Hoppy’s lifelong dream of becoming a doctor presented itself. He was accepted to medical school at the University of Texas so their family which now included two sons, Mike and Mark, moved to Galveston, Texas. It was there that their two daughters, Anne and Gail, were born. During these lean years, Flo worked at the stock brokerage of the Merrill-Lynch Company. In 1955, Flo and Hoppy, now a general practitioner, moved back to Lovington where they started his medical practice with Flo managing the office for a time. During these busy years, Flo squeezed in a college degree in secondary education from ENMU Portales, which was a fulfillment of her dream. She later commented that a Home Economics or Accounting degree would have been more appropriate as she was very proficient in managing household and business accounts as well as having outstanding organizational, sewing, baking, and cooking skills to which her family will attest. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in 1968.
Influenced by a college friend, Flo ventured to California blazing a new trail for herself. Teaching high school English in the L.A. school system was not to her liking so she took a job with Merrill-Lynch again while working on her Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. She was employed by the Oxnard School District and enjoyed implementing and managing Vocational-Technical programs and working with high school students who were not college-bound.
Flo was introduced by a friend to Robert H. Matthews, who fell in love with her at first sight. They married in Los Angeles on January 31, 1970 and settled in Ventura, California. As a life-long learner, Flo took up oil painting, photography, genealogy and golf. She and Bob enjoyed taking short trips up the California coast and to nearby National Parks. When Bob retired from Getty Oil Company, they moved back to their native Texas, and resided in Pottsboro to be close to Flo’s family. There she managed their community’s home association. Following her parents’ deaths, Bob and Flo made their home in Roswell, NM in 1982.
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Here Flo continued to play golf, but expanded her many interests and talents. She regularly took classes at the Adult Recreation Center learning to use shop tools, silversmithing, framing, piano playing, beading as well as perfecting her painting skills.
Flo was an active member and officer of the Los Pocos Locos Miniature Club and National Miniature Clubs for many years. Although she was talented in creating miniature objects and room boxes of all types, her fondness was for molding, painting, wigging, and dressing 1:12” scale dolls. Her favorite movie was Gone With The Wind which prompted her to create all the character dolls from that movie. They are on display at the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum in Roswell. Flo also served as an original board member of that organization.
Flo was an avid genealogist for 50 years taking courses and attending conferences sponsored by the National Genealogical Society and the LSD Church. She was a founding member of the Wilson-Cobb History and Genealogy Library and served for many years as a board member and officer. Flo had also been an active member of the Roswell Genealogy Association.
People always commented on Flo’s youthfulness even into her 90s. She attributed it to using Mary Kay skin products since its inception in the 1960s and being physically and mentally active. Flo enjoyed attending the Symphony Orchestra concerts, reading and staying current on world events as well as working jigsaw, number and word puzzles. In fact, she completed an advanced Sudoku and Jumble just days before her passing. Into her 80s, Flo was a member of the Rac-a-taps Dance Team performing several times in the Senior Olympics. She even honored her family with a tap dance during her 90th birthday celebration with all of her family in attendance.
Flo is described by her children and grandchildren as being an amazing woman with strong Christian values who was nurturing, kind, frugal but generous, smart, and full of determination and grit. She always made family gatherings fun and memorable with excellent cuisine and laughter. She never missed an opportunity to fly the flag with honor and patriotism and always went to the polls to vote, even in 2020. She will be missed immensely. Rest in Peace Mother Dear.
Those left to cherish Florine’s/Nana’s memory are sons, Michael Hopkins and Mark Hopkins (Sharon Collins); daughters, Anne Puma (Bob) and Gail Shadix (Bob); Ex daughter-in-law, Pam Hopkins Forni (Tom); Ex son-in-law, Mark Butler (Julie); grandchildren, Olivia Hopkins (Aryon), Daniel Hopkins, Andrew Hopkins, Ariel Hopkins Brunkhurst (Wayne), Jini Puma (Dave Bean), Kristi “Cissy” Puma, Scott Puma, Charles Butler, Kelley Butler Ford (Jared), Kenda Collins Giron (Cris), Kera Collins Fresquez (Donald), Leeanne Shadix Graf(Robert), Sandra Shadix Back (Michael); life-long friend, Juanita Rippetoe; numerous great-grandchildren and other friends and relatives.
Flo is predeceased by her parents, Ed and Eva Newberg; sisters, Mary Mae Simpson (Z.L) and Evaline Marie Newberg; husbands, Walter J. Hopkins, Jr. and Robert H. Matthews; her first-born grandchild, Shayna Leigh Hopkins-Puma, and daughter-in-law, Alicia Leyba Puma.
Florine is of the Presbyterian faith. She will be cremated according to her wishes. A memorial service will take place at a later date in Fort Worth, Texas. An online registry has been created at andersonbethany.com. Please take a moment to share your memories with Flo’s family. A memorial donation can also be made to the Wilson-Cobb History and Genealogy Library at 301 South Richardson, Roswell, NM 88201, the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum at 320 North Richardson Avenue, Roswell, NM 88201 or a charity of your choice.
Services are under the direction of Anderson Bethany Funeral Home and Crematory.
Florine’s tribute was beautifully written in her honor by her family.