FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Eugene Florence, 108, went to be with the Lord Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The wake will be held at the Greater St. Stephen First Baptist Church, located on the corner of East Berry and Sydney in Fort Worth, on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 6-8 p.m. The memorial service, officiated by Dr. Michael Bell, will be held at the church on Monday, Sept. 17, at 10 a.m.
Family and friends will remember Florence as a loving, cheerful man. He was a preacher of the Gospel for more than 70 years, having served as a pastor of four churches in Texas towns such as Stephenville, Granbury, and Decatur. Along the way, he raised a family and simultaneously held down full-time jobs.
In 2004, at the age of 100, Florence was awarded a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth for coursework he had completed in 1951. At that time, during the period of segregation, the seminary did not offer a master degree program but instead had night classes available for blacks to earn a diploma.
Even after receiving his master’s degree, Florence continued serving the Lord and preaching. In 2006, he preached in Southwestern Seminary’s chapel service. In 2008, at the age of 104, he was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the seminary.
Florence is survived by a daughter, Emma Jean Evans of Fort Worth, Texas; grandchildren, Charlene Starling of Overton, Texas, Edward Lester of Kalamazoo, Mich., Rubie Taylor of Fort Worth, Texas, Earnest Florence of Orange, Texas, Patrick Brown of Aurora, Colo., James Lester of Arlington, Texas, Curtis Florence of Longview, Texas, Bobby Lester of Houston, Texas, Herman Florence of Tyler, Texas, Junior Goodacre of Overton, Texas; numerous great and great-great grandchildren (six generations); and a host of relatives and friends.