Marion Jannette Laffey, age 98, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Winter Haven, Fla.
Born in Muskegon, Mich., on June 25, 1914, Jannette moved to Lake Wales at the age of 5 with her family.
She was a graduate of Lake Wales High School where she became an excellent tennis player and was soon seeded in the Florida State Tennis Association, as well as the reigning Lake Wales City Champion of both men’s and women’s divisions.
Following her business school education, Janette became secretary to Mr. Harold Norman, president of Florida Citrus Canners Cooperative in Lake Wales, the predecessor to Citrus World, Inc. which currently markets their citrus juice products under the brand Florida’s Natural.
It was in Lake Wales that Jannette met and married James R. Laffey who was employed by Seaboard Airline Railway. They relocated to Ocala, Fla., in 1946 to raise their family. Jannette was widowed in 1965 and went to work soon after for Rheinauer’s Of Florida, Inc., a fine women’s apparel department store.
In 1975 she accepted a position as Assistant to the President of Rheinauers and relocated to their corporate headquarters in Winter Haven, Fla., until her retirement in 2002 at the age of 88.
Jannette was widely traveled, having visited Europe, Africa, Saudi Arabia, China and the British Isles. She was an avid golfer, member of the Ocala Women’s Golf Association for many years, and a fan of professional golf and major league baseball. She was the first female Parish Council President in the state of Florida serving that position at Blessed Trinity parish in Ocala.
Jannette is survived by her four children, Michael Laffey (Patricia, deceased), of Sugar Land, Texas, Donna Isler (Jack,) of Sierra Vista, Ariz., Matthew (Gail), of Winter Haven, and David (Cheryl), of Ocala, Fla. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, Crystal, J. R., Katrina, Laura, Jennifer, Sarah, Patrick and Laura, as well as seven great grandchildren, Michael, Colin, Callista, Grace, Catherine, Charlie, and Sam.
In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her brother Alonzo Yager and sister Elizabeth Martin, both of Lake Wales.
Visitation and rosary for Jannette is Sunday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. at the funeral home. A Requiem Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Winter Haven, Fla.
At 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14 interment will be at at Lake Wales Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Marion Nelson Funeral Home, Lake Wales, Fla., www.marionnelsonfuneralhome.com.
Memorial gifts may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Ave., Auburndale, FL 33823-3229.