Remembering Florine Stewart

By Shelly Goldberg Maniscalco

Our neighbor Florine M. Stewart passed away peacefully on January 17, 2017 just 14 days shy of her 100th birthday. According to her family, she lived a long and happy life and witnessed many important historical events--segregation, several wars, the Great Depression, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, desegregation, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the development of the Internet, the invention of the personal computer, and the election of the first African-American President of the United State, Barack Obama.

Born on February 1, 1917 in Arlington Florine was the only child of Katherine Moten and Weldon Clark. Florine was educated in Arlington, and spent the majority of her life in High View Park, with the exception of a brief stint living in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood as a young woman. She returned home to Arlington to be closer to family and friends and later worked for the Federal Government.

Florine was a life-long member of Calloway United Methodist Church on Lee Highway and was a member of the Senior and Gospel choirs. She enjoyed singing, reading, cooking, television, and spending time with her family. She was a very spiritual woman and when she was no longer able to attend church, she avidly read the bible and watched religious services on TV.

As Florine was well into her 90s before we moved in next door, we did not see her much. But, when we did, she was always very sweet to us and to our babies. We went to the service to honor Ms. Stewart and very much enjoyed hearing stories about her, her personality, and her long life and experiences. She and her family and caregivers have been great neighbors and we are personally grateful to have met them and to have them in our lives.