Bertie Dicks Pursley, age 96 of Lake City, Florida died Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at her residence surrounded by her family and with the assistance of Haven Hospice. She was born February 16, 1924 to the late Ruth and Robert Preston Dicks, Sr. She graduated from Columbia County Schools in 1941, the year WWII was declared. She began her career with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and County Extension Office in Lake City. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1943 to work in the Identification Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A highlight of her time was meeting J. Edgar Hoover during his tenure as the Director. While in Washington, D.C., she met (on a blind date) and married the love of her life, Roger Curtis Pursley, within 6 weeks. They were married for 64 ½ years, until his passing in 2009, a testament to the commitment of their vows and devotion to each other. After returning to Lake City in 1946, they welcomed the arrival of their son, Roger Preston, and she began to work for the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Public Health. She retired in 1979 from the County Extension Office after serving 27 years.
She was a committed follower of Jesus Christ. She was the oldest continuous member of Hopeful Baptist Church of which she was a devoted life-long member. She believed in serving others in her church and did so as a Sunday School and Training Union teacher for years. Her favorite times were sitting on the back row greeting those that came in and attending her Dorcas Sunday School Class; where she made her sense of humor known.
She loved riding her tri-bike all over the community collecting aluminum cans while meeting many strangers who became her friends. She began her “canning” much to the chagrin of her granddaughters who referred to her as the “bag lady.” She often reminded her family those cans helped pay for the cruise she took with her graduating class. She continued this ministry well into her 80s.
She loved being outdoors and working in her yard. On her 90th birthday, she received a new weed-eater. Finally, at the age of 95 and after wearing out many more weed-eaters, she allowed for others to maintain her yard.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Ruth and Robert Preston Dicks, Sr., her husband, Roger Curtis Pursley, her brother and sister in law, Robert Preston Dicks, Jr. (Frances), her sister and brother-in-law, Shirley Dicks Markham (Hubert), her sister, Alice Dicks Mangle, and special nieces Freda Mangle Crawford and Glenda Dicks Cutford.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Roger Preston Pursley (Janice) of Tallahassee, her granddaughters, Vanessa Pursley Keen (Jason) of Vero Beach, and Allison Pursley Carter (Todd) of Tallahassee, and four great grandchildren, Preston, Peyton and Paige Keen, and Lauren Carter. Special nieces and nephews: Sandra Markham Duncan (Jim), Ronnie Mangle (Phyliss), Kay Dicks, Randy Dicks, and Jan Markham Womble (Patrick). Also, a host of great nieces, nephews and friends.
The visitation for Mrs. Pursley will be conducted on Friday, June 5, 2020, at 2:00 PM with the funeral service following at 3:00 PM at Hopeful Baptist Church with Rev. Scott Stanland and Dr. Gary Crawford officiating. Interment will follow at Hopeful Baptist Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Hopeful Baptist Cemetery Fund or Haven Hospice would be appreciated.
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