Rita J. Longshore

Rita Joy Longshore, age 88, of Avon Park, Florida, passed away Thursday, March 12, 2020. She was born June 20, 1931 in Dickson, Tennessee to the late Jesse and Nola (Greer) Simmons. Rita faithfully attended First Baptist Church of Avon Park, Florida and had also been a member of Missionary Church in Michigan and Florida. She has been a resident of Avon Park, Florida since 1972, coming from Berkley, Michigan.

Rita’s family moved from Tennessee to Detroit, Michigan, where she attended school and graduated from Pershing High School in June 1949. She worked in Detroit for Dun & Bradstreet as a typist and Dictaphone operator, as well as a church secretary. She married Richard “Dick” Longshore in June of 1950. In July of 1952, Dick was drafted into the Korean War. Rita left Michigan to live with him while he was stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Dick was sent overseas in 1953, where he spent 16 months and was wounded in combat. Rita gave birth to their first child while he was in Korea.

Rita was active in church work in Michigan, organizing visitation dinners, teaching Junior Church and Youth Sunday School, as well as organizing youth events and traveling youth choirs. They were lovingly called “Uncle Dick and Aunt Rita” by the church youth.

In 1972, they moved to Avon Park, Florida with three of their children, where Rita helped her husband start the family business, Aluminum Related Products. Two years later she started the Park Towel & Gift Shop on U.S. 27, later adding an Ice Cream Parlor and Deli. She continued to work in the family business until 1989, when she started a small antique business, called “Another Day,” where she specialized in antique glass. After Dick retired from Aluminum Related Products, he joined Rita in the antique business, restoring antique furniture. They had booths in Lake City, Micanopy, Orlando, Lake Wales, Frostproof, Sebring and Avon Park. They continued their church work in Florida and helped plant a Missionary Church, while supporting missionaries overseas. Rita and Dick also loved and supported the Missionary Church Campmeeting in Brown City, Michigan and the Avon Park Holiness Camp in Florida.

Rita is survived by her children, Ramona Severn (Randall), Loretta Wells (Scooter), Eric Longshore (Brenda), and Blake Longshore (Sharon), all of Avon Park; eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Rita was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Shirley Britton; an infant daughter, Delberta Ann, and her husband, Richard Longshore.

A funeral service will be held at 12 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2020 at First Baptist Church of Avon Park. Video and viewing at the church will be open at 11 a.m. A graveside service will follow the funeral at Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Avon Park. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Avon Park Building Fund.

Services entrusted to Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, 111 E. Circle St., Avon Park, FL 33825. Online condolences may be left at www.stephensonnelsonfh.com