Mrs. Thelma Miller and her husband lived in Shiloh, Florida for several years. She taught school there for five years and then stopped for 17 years to raise her family.

In 1941, the moved to Edgewater, Florida – a great need for teacher arose in Oak Hill in 1949. Mrs. Ethel Williams retired, leaving a need for a teacher to replace her. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Alma Carter, told the principal, W.F. Burns, to call Thelma. She told him that she was a teacher, but not teaching now. So Mr.,. Burns approached her to take the place Mrs. Williams would soon be leaving open. Thelma told Mr. Burns she would take the position for teaching first and second grades.

Soon the classes became so large that the need for another teacher arose again, as pupils kept coming in. Mrs. Miller says, “I hadn’t taught for 17 years, so that meant I had to return to college to get more credits. I went over with othe teachers to Stetson University to take a night class. That, with starting over to teach kept me busy, but I had wonderful parents and well behaved children who wanted to learn. In no time, I got back in the routine. It was a joy to prepare lesson plans and get back to teaching.”

Mrs Thelma Miller in the first grade room in 1953. The curtains were made and put up by the home room mothers, Arley Baldwin and Mary Dewees.

Mrs Thelma Miller in the first grade room in 1953.
The curtains were made and put up by the home room mothers, Arley Baldwin and Mary Dewees.

“Some of the wonderful room mothers I had were the late Ruth Treadwell, Mary Dewees, Arley Baldwin, Addie Lopez, Thelma McPherson and so many more, I’d never name them for lack of space. They were a great help with parties and driving to and from field trips.

“One weekend they must have kept very busy in the classroom for when I entered it on Monday morning, there were new blinds and drapes up. There were new tables for desks, a real little house sitting over in the corner of the large classroom. This was sometimes a post office, a grocery store or a dollhouse with furniture in it that they made. How pretty everything was and what a wonderful surprise for me!”

It was a great place for learning.

“One of the most interesting units was on transportation. At that time, many freight trains passed through Oak Hill, so we took cigar boxes and made a train, complete with a little Red Caboose. This train was later given to the kindergarten at Read-Pattillo school where Laverna McGinnis was a teacher.

“I drove back and forth from Edgewater and New Smyrna with Betty Snowden and Mildred Lawrence ach day to teach. Soon another teacher was needed so Mr. Burns hired Corinne Beck to teach the fourth grade and she rode with us also.

“After eight years went by, an elementary school was built in New Smyrna Beach, the Read-Pattillo school. It opened up and I was asked to teach there, and with it being closer to my home and with Mr. Burns retiring, I decided not to come back even though I did have plans to come back.

“For 14 years, I taught at Read-Pattillo, Mrs. Euda Connely being the principal. That made me a teacher for 27 years, retiring in 1971.”

Mrs. Miller and her husband are very active in their church work. She belongs to First Methodist and Ralph is a member of Union Church in Edgewater. They both did many activities in each. She is on the administrative board of the First Methodist Church and has been for many years. She was also on the building committee when the new church parsonage was built and vice president, then president of the Wesley Bible Class. She is in charge of social activities for her class and writes the news each month and helps prepare the mailing for the church paper. She sees there are flowers in Sunday School classrooms and sees about the sick and absent greeting cards.

“I help in my husband’s church in several ways too. I am chairman of the Cookbook Committee to help raise money for the building of Hollister Hall.

Thelma and Betty Snowden are charter members of the Sunset Garden Club in honor of their many years of work in it.

“It is always interesting to learn how various children I have taught do for an occupation. Bob Pattillo as mayor of New Smyrna Beach; Horace Treadwell, postmaster in Oak Hill; hi son, Kenny is a fine lawyer as is Barbara Pattillo; Dana Greatrex Baldwin Greatrex, a teacher; Mary Ann Dewees Moffett, a medical technologist and supervisor at the Smith Kline Lab in Gainesville. Some others are musicians, carpenters, nurses, clerks and homemakers, just too numerous to mention. I love ach and every one of them and often wish that I could have party or picnic and invite all who care to come.

“It makes me feel good when one of them comes to speak to me and says something about when they were in my class at a certain school. To each of them, I wish much happiness and success in life.”

Teacher: Mrs. Florence Settle

Teacher: Mrs. Florence Settle

Mrs. Settle taught school many years, was a devoted wife of an outstanding businessman and mother of two lovely daughters. She was a diligent church worker in the First Methodist Church of New Smyrna Beach. She was an active participant in community affairs and a kind neighbor consoling those in distress and delighting in the joys of others good fortune. She was a helpful businesswoman assisting her husband in his funeral business and an engaging person with many interests and hobbies.

She has had many years of experience teaching. From 1929 to 1940, she had her own private kindergarten. From 1940-48 she taught the first grade at Faulkner Street Public School in New Smyrna Beach.

Between 1948-56 she was helping her husband in his business. Mrs. Annie D. Cox, a school board member, approached her to return to teaching, as she was needed. Florence preferred going to a smaller school, so was appointed by the board to the first grade in the Oak Hill Public School. She taught the first grade from 1965-1972 and in the 1973-1974 school year, she directed the institution of one of the most outstanding and effective kindergarten programs in the Volusia County school system.

She has received many honors and was the frist to be selected Woman of the Year in New Smyrna Beach. She is listed in the Who’s Who of American Women and the Who’s Who in American Education. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an honorary teachers’ society. She has also served as president and held various other offices in several local organizations.

From a life rich with rewarding personal experiences, she drew resources to pass on to her pupils, retiring from school here in Oak Hill in 1971.

Florence got the “Award of the Month” for her excellence in teaching and this was a great honor.

On Friday, March 24, 1961, the Oak Hill Tots (all main characters were five years old) staged a Tom Thumb Wedding under the supervision of Mrs. Florence Settle.

All male members of the bridal party wore full evening dress suits and black bow ties and the young ladies were in full evening dress.

Tom Thumb Wedding - 1961

Tom Thumb Wedding – 1961

In addition to the bride, Darlene Cochran, and the bridegroom, Vincent Alderman, other leads were Billy Mead as the preacher; Donia Dewees, maid of honor; Judy Scharneck, matron of honor and Charles Coleman, best man. Bridesmaids were Cindy Alderman, Wesa Hardisty, Kathy Parker, Vicki Loudermilk, Denise Kennard and Rhonda Cochran. Ushers were Vern Simmons, Larry Parker, Bruce Stephens, Jimmie Vann, Keith Jones, Steve Bowen and Johnny Hutchinson.

Flower girls were Beverly Kennard, Leslie Bellamy and Jennifer Hammond; ring berer was Mark McGee. Leslie did not make the performance as she became ill.

Others in the wedding party were: Diane David, Mitchell Futch (bride’s parents); Alice Trawick and Larry Ward (groom’s parents); Joyce Devlin and Jimmy Watson, brides grandparents; Wanda Harris and Paul Schwarzkopf, groom’s grandparents; aunts and uncles of the wedding couple were Ronnie Goodrich, Judy Thomas, Sandy Davis, Mickey Howland; cousins were Nancy Roach, Ronnie Futch and Aubrey Driggers; guests were Bobbie Trawick, Larry Thomas, Danny and James Goodrich, Bobby Davenport, Glenn Vann and Susan Goodwin.

Musical piano ions were “Medley of Serenade” and “O Sole Mio” by Dana Baldwin; “Starlight Over Norway” by Mary Dewees; “Brahms Waltz” by Barbara Treadwell and “Bouree” by Kenneth Treadwell.

There were also dancing numbers, “Suwannee River” by Linda Davenport; “Polka” by Becky Bellamy; and “Waltz in Ballet” by Jennifer Goodrich. Abbie Vann sang “The Wedding of the Painted Dolls.”

Mrs. H. E. Treadwell was in charge of programs and Mrs. Joe Kennard was the piano Accompanist for though program. Mrs. Jack Bellamy was in charge of ticket sales.

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