This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.

Florence Donohue Fleer, 97, of Providence, Rhode Island, passed away on January 17, 2020, at the John Clarke Nursing Center in Middletown, RI.

Florence was born in Great Neck, NY, in 1922 to the late Frederick J. Donohue and Sophia (Miller) Donohue. She was the wife of the late Kenneth Bryson Fleer.

She was one of nine children and remembered growing up on Long Island when it was still a farming community and a favored location for the mansions of film stars. She especially loved her maternal grandfather, who came to America from Germany prior to World War I and always called her his “Little Maggie.” During her school days, Florence was a sprinter who won medals in the 1930s. As a young woman, she worked as a telephone operator at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. She later moved to Washington, DC, and became an executive secretary at the Remington Rand corporation, iconic manufacturer of the UNIVAC line of mainframe computers. She met her husband, the late Kenneth Bryson Fleer, in Washington, DC, and was married at the historic Wildwood Baptist Church (“the church in the wildwood”) in Bethesda, MD in 1952. Florence was a talented homemaker who also edited her daughter’s elementary school newsletter, Hardy Highlights, won American Kennel Club ribbons for showing a purebred collie and sewed custom hats – at a time when hats and gloves were required for ladies. Later in life, Florence had a second career in retail and worked for The Bon Ton department store in Frederick, MD. Following her husband’s death in 1988, Florence made her home with her daughter for nearly 32 years, residing in homes located in Maryland, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and finally Rhode Island again. She was always eager to travel and experience new adventures, even well into her 90s. Florence especially loved a good glass of wine, a fine restaurant, dogs and cats (of which she had many), a cozy bed, a good cup of coffee, a drive along the shore and all 11 seasons of Frasier. She was cheerful, grateful, funny, completely loving and always kind — with a twinkle in her Irish eyes — until the very end.

Florence is survived by her daughter, Karen Donohue Fleer, of Providence, RI, and two sisters in NY.

Services for Florence will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hope Hospice, Providence, RI.


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