Evelyn Birch Rich Florence, 81, passed away October 26, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. The first of two daughters,
Evelyn was born to Ewing and Julia Miller Birch in the Persimmon Community of Monroe County, Kentucky, on November
She attended Willow Springs Elementary from grades 1 through 8 and graduated from Tompkinsville High School in 1956.
After marrying Wallace Rich in December 1955, she gave birth to three children. When the youngest child started school,
Evelyn entered Western Kentucky University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in
1972. In 1979, Evelyn received her Master’s degree in Reading Education from Florida State University.
In 1972, the family relocated from Kentucky to Tallahassee, Florida where Evelyn began her career teaching reading at
Bond Elementary School. In her 25 years with the Leon County School System, Evelyn taught at Bond Elementary,
Pineview Elementary, Brevard Elementary and Apalachee Elementary.
After Evelyn and Wallace divorced, Evelyn met and married Robert (Bob) Florence in 1988. Evelyn and Bob traveled to
many places together exploring the world. They visited most of the European countries, including the British Isles and the
Mediterranean region. In their travels, they cruised down the Nile River, through the Panama Canal and in Alaska. They
also visited Australia, Central America, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and many US states. Evelyn enjoyed
documenting her travels and sharing what she learned with her students and fellow teachers.
Evelyn had a love of reading and a deep passion for her students who struggled with reading. An active member of the
local chapter of the Leon County Reading Council for many years, Evelyn was honored with their Literacy Award in 1988,
1996, 2006 and 2007. She also served as president of the Leon County Reading Council in 1999-2000.
Evelyn’s involvement in the advancement of literacy extended to the state level, where she served as the district director
of the Florida Reading Association in 1985-1988, 1991-1994, and 2000-2003. She was also an active member of the
Florida Reading Association Board for 25 years as well as the convention chair in 1995 and the state president of the
Florida Reading Association 1996-1997. In 2014, she was inducted into the Florida Reading Association Hall of Fame for
her years of service.
Evelyn attended several International Reading Association (IRA) Conferences both in the US and in various countries
around the world. She presented at the IRA Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. She was invited to Egypt with
People to People to serve on an Education Committee and to visit schools in Egypt.
Evelyn was also active in the Leon-Wakulla Retired Educators Association for many years after retirement and served as
President in 2001-2002 and 2007-2009. In 2008, she won the Leon County Schools Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award
related to her work with struggling readers.
Her loving husband of 28 years Bob Florence preceded her in death on May 24, 2016. Evelyn’s parents Ewing Birch and
Julia Miller Birch and her sister Runell Birch Cary also preceded her death.
She leaves behind her children, Vicki (Larry) Register of Tallahassee, Florida; Greg (Kathy) Rich and Vanessa (Wesley)
Shivers all of Crawfordville, Florida; Step-children Jennifer (Garry) Pearson of Kaufman, Texas and Scott (Alexa) Florence
of Bettendorf, Iowa.
Grandchildren: Ryan (Jenny) Register; Lindsey (Brian) Mimbs; Amber (Tim) Lawton; Dillan (Brittany) Rich; Tim
(Stephanie) Tice all of Tallahassee, Florida; Brett Baker and Colby Pearson of Kaufman, Texas; Nolan (Allie) Baker of
Monticello, Florida; Ben Florence of New York City, NY; and Gabe Florence of Bettendorf, Iowa.
Great-Grandchildren: Palmer Register; Bryson, Levi, and Ellie Mimbs; Henry and Samuel Lawton; Kayla and Zachery
Yarborough; Lola Rich; Alex and Jonathan Tice all of Tallahassee, Florida; and Ella and Nate Baker of Monticello, Florida.
Her Brother-in-law Preston Cary of Lafayette, Tennessee, along with nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
Visitation is Friday, November 8, 2019 from 5pm - 7pm at Yokley-Trible Funeral Home at 510 W 4 th St, Tompkinsville, KY.
Funeral service is at Pleasant Hill Church of Christ on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 11:00 am. Interment is at Pleasant
Hill Church of Christ Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd, Tallahassee, FL
32308; Timberlane Church of Christ Preschool, 3569 Timberlane School Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32312; or Pleasant Hill
Church of Christ.
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