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LaVaughn “Von” Hodges Fraser

LaVaughn “Von” Hodges Fraser, age 76, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at North Florida Regional Medical Center, Gainesville. He was born in Doerun, Ga., on Feb. 22, 1938.

Von was the eighth child born to Wallace and Sallie (Hodges) Fraser. He was raised in a large family in a small, rural town with a strong work ethic. At age 12 he was a telephone switchboard operator and worked a paper route. On summer breaks he picked cotton, cropped tobacco and stacked peanuts while completing his high school education. When questioned about stacking peanuts he replied, “Anyone who grew up in rural Georgia in the 1950s can tell you what that means!” He inherited his love of conversing with others from his mother. With her nine children gathered around the dinner table on Sundays, she enjoyed sharing stories of growing up in rural Georgia. When questions why he talks fast, Von replied, he had to talk fast to get a word in edgewise with 11people at one table.

After a tour of duty in the United States Army as a Non-Commission Officer, Von attended the University of Florida where he earned his BSBA in Accounting in 1969. In 1992, he received a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the University of North Florida. Von was hired in 1977 by the Alachua County Clerk of Court as a Supervisor of Finance and Accounting. He was hired in 1981 by the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office where he held the position of Assistant Tax Collector until 2000 when he was elected Tax Collector. During his tenure as a public servant, Von used his inherited talent for conversation from his beloved mother to reach out to thousands of people in all walks of life to help them with tax issues or personal concerns. He often said “no tax payer’s concern is too small or too large; they deserve my undivided attention.”

Von’s extraordinary commitment to service was evidenced by the many positions of leadership he held both locally and statewide. His involvement included but was not limited to: Florida Tax Collector’s Association, Vietnam Veterans of America, Korean War Veterans Association, American Legion, Military Support Group, Florida Credit Union, Habitat for Humanity, Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association, Cotton Club Museum and cultural Center, League of Women Voters, African American Accountability Alliance, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, NAACP, PTA, A.L., Mebane Alumni Association, Inc., Arts Council of Elementary Schools, and the Gainesville Lion’s Club. Most notably, among all honors, awards and accolades, Von was elected and ordained Honorary Deacon at two local churches, Third Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers: Warren Fraser, Wendell Fraser, Wallace Fraser, and Arthur DeLacey Fraser. Survivors are: sisters: Sadie King of Gainesville, Evelyn Chesser of Dinsmore, Mary O. Hunt (Raymond) of Starke, Joy Edmunds (Glen) of Albany, Ga., sister-in-laws: Nell Fraser of Dublin, Ga., and Lucille Fraser of Valdosta, Ga., numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will received friends at Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home in Starke on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There was an additional viewing on Sunday, April 27 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Ave., Gainesville, with funeral services beginning at 3 p.m. Interment followed services in Rock Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, County Road 231, in Brooker with Pastor Roswell Henderson and Pastor Jim Sandlin officiating. A reception followed the graveside service at Rock Primitive Baptist Church Fellowship Hall for family and friends. Arrangements by Jones-Gallagher Funeral Home of Starke. On-line condolences may be left at www.jonesgallagherfh.com.  

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Rev. Ernest L. Holmes, Sr.

Rev. Ernest L. Holmes, Sr., 91, left his earthly home on Friday, April 4, 2014 to be with his heavenly Father. He was the Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Alachua, Fla., and New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Hainesworth, Fla.

Those that will cherish his memories are children; Inez (Feirmon), Annie Grace, Ernest Jr., Willie (Katie), Mable, Alma (Omoniyi), and Sylvia; stepchildren Erma, Helen (Harry), Mary (Steve), Billy, Tyrone (Vontrice), Otis (Shirley), and Brian (Tina); sisters Lovella (Sam) and Effie Mae (Walter).; sisters-in-law: Betty, Merlene, and Lorrine; 63 grandchildren, 105 great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

Visitation was Friday, April 11, 2014 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at A. Jerome Brown Funeral Home, 1560 NW 1st Ave., High Springs. Funeral Services were held on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 11 a.m., at the Female Protective Society Temple, 12610 NW 39th Avenue, Gainesville, FL. Professional Services entrusted to A. Jerome Brown Funeral Home; 386-454-1110.

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Valerie Taylor

Valerie Taylor, 58, passed away early on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville. Ms. Taylor was from upstate New York, but had been an Alachua resident for approximately 20 years and was the owner of Valerie's Loft, 14822 Main Street, Alachua. Previously, she was the business manager for a veterinary clinic in Gainesville and maintained her love of animals by rescuing several through the years.

An active member of the community, Ms. Taylor was the chair of the 2014 Alachua Main Street Spring Festival, president of the Gesthemene Lutheran Church Council, Gainesville, served as a board member of the Alachua Downtown Redevelopment Board and the Alachua Woman's Club and was a member of the Alachua Historical Society, Alachua Business League and the Alachua Chamber of Commerce.

A Celebration of Life memorial will be held at Gesthsemane Lutheran Church, 4011 NW 34th Street, Gainesville, at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 5, 2014.

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Billie J. Howard

Mrs. Billie J. Howard passed away on Saturday, April 4, 2014.

She is survived by husband, Ruben Howard; sons Glen Howard, Bruce Howard and Corey Howard; daughters Bernice Felix, Karen Fisher and Nicole Robinson; 27 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren; sister, Kay Kinghton and brother, Howell Fletcher

A memorial service for Mrs. Howard will be held on Saturday, April 12 at 3 p.m. at the Female Protective Society Temple 12610 NW 39th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32606.

Professional Services entrusted to A. Jerome Brown Funeral Home 1560 NW 1st Ave. High Springs: 386-454-1110.

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Kenneth William Fogg, Sr.

Kenneth William Fogg, Sr., 66, passed away peacefully April 2, 2014 after a long battle with Wegener’s disease at his home in High Springs under the care of Haven Hospice.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Marsha J. Fogg, High Springs; his sons, Kenneth W. Fogg, Jr., Lake City and Kevin W. Fogg, High Springs; his brothers, Bobby Fogg, Seminole, David Fogg (Paula), Newberry, Ernest (Buddy) Fogg, Jr. (Brenda), Homosassa, Michael Fogg (Barbara), Ellisville; his sisters, Diane Billings, Brooksville, Marian Fogg (Geri Frantz), Pinellas Park; and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He is proceeded in death by his father, Ernest A. Fogg, Sr., his mother, Freda M. Fogg; brothers, Steven Fogg and Donald Fogg; sisters, Iris Theriault, Joan Theriault and Sandy Blackford.

He proudly served in the United States Navy defending our country during the Vietnam War from 1967-1969. He was of Christian faith and enjoyed antique cars, NASCAR, car restoration, fishing, traveling and loved spending time with his family and his two dogs, Mia and Boo-Boo.

Visitation will be April 5, 2014 from 10-11 a.m. at Evans Carter Funeral Home in High Springs, Fla. Services at Evans Carter Funeral home will begin at 11 a.m. Graveside services will follow immediately at Forrest Meadows Memorial Park East, 3700 SE Hawthorne Road, Gainesville. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Gainesville Fisher House.

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