Florence B. Schauffler, who was known by many as “Flea”, her nickname since her grade school days, passed away peacefully early Christmas Eve Morning, 12/24/17. She had recently celebrated her 97 Birthday. Born Florence Cornelia Brown on November 22nd, 1920 in Cleveland, Ohio, the first born of paternal twins, Florence attended the Hathaway Brown School for Girls and after high school, the Erskine School in Boston where her studies were focused on theatrical arts. She went on to do summer stock at North Shore Players in Marblehead, Mass. Florence’s pursuit of theatre arts was deflected due to WW II and she spent those years in Washington, D.C. working in the War Department for Military Intelligence. She moved to New York City in the late 40’s where she worked for the production company, Theatre, Inc. and for Master Set Designer Jo Mielziner. It was while Florence was living in NYC that she met Allen Field Schauffler. Florence (Flea) and Allen (Al) fell in love and married in 1949. They celebrated their nuptials with a 70-mile hike between Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. This would be the first of many wilderness adventures that they as a couple and as a family would share.
Al and Flea settled in rural John Day, Oregon where they worked a ranch owned by Al’s family. In the early 1950’s Al and Flea moved to Pullman, Washington where he became a veterinary student at WSU. Flea worked as a secretary while Al was in school. Jennifer and Dana were born during those vet school years. After a cross country trip in search of a place to start a Veterinary practice Al and Flea opened The Verde Veterinary Hospital that became the first full time practice in the Verde Valley/Sedona area.
Flea, who found great pleasure and fulfillment in giving back, helped found the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic and was a board member. She also dedicated her time to helping battered women get a new start. She and Al mentored numerous young people opening their hearts and home to them. Some of these relationships have endured to this day. Flea was an accomplished horsewoman and an early member of the “Verde Valley Roverettes” - she became their first drill captain. She and Al explored much of the Verde Valley on horseback with their family.
Al and Flea parted ways in 1978 but remained friends. Flea moved to Scottsdale and began taking courses in theatre arts at Scottsdale Community College. She later moved to L.A. where she went on to have a successful career as a character actress on the stage, in film and television for 15 years. (suggestion: Google Florence Schauffler, her accomplishments there are impressive, given her late return to her craft.)
At age 75, Florence returned to the Verde Valley and lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Clarkdale. She was a loving grandmother, devoted volunteer for Meals on Wheels through Verde Valley Senior Center until she was 86 when she was no longer physically up to it. It gave Florence particular joy when the opportunity arose during her retirement years to ‘dust off her craft’ and immerse herself in a creative project. After ‘retirement’ she had the opportunity to lend her talents to 3 film projects and a dance-theatre production whose development and performance phases spanned 2 years.
When issues with her health made it necessary for Flea to move into assisted living her humanity, humor and belief in “a purpose greater than one’s self” did not fade and continued to inspire all who knew her.
Flea, your family and all who loved you will remember you always for your great heart and gracious, generous spirit. We will remember your gift of humor, of storytelling, your elegance and sense of style. We will remember that you loved with your whole heart without condition. Those of us who knew and loved you have been blessed to have shared this life’s journey with you.
Survived by: Daughter Jennifer Schauffler-Vircsik (Andy), Son Dana Schauffler (Joyce), Grandchildren: Antonia (Toni) Aspeitia, Allen Schauffler, Clinton Schauffler, daughter-in-law Michel (Angel) Schauffler, numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews and adopted family of her heart.
A celebration of life and mass will be held for Florence on Saturday, April 21st, 11am at St Thomas Episcopal Church 889 First South Street in Clarkdale followed by a reception at the Verde Valley Senior Center, 500 E Cherry Street in Cottonwood 1:30pm-4:30 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following organizations: YES the Arc, P.O. Box 1061, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, The Verde Valley Senior Center, P.O. Box 681, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, The Old Town Mission, P.O. Box 1779 Cottonwood, AZ. 86326, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1175, Clarkdale AZ 86324, or Aviant Hospice 1756 E Villa Dr., Ste C17, Cottonwood AZ 86326.
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