Lee R. Ledbetter
Lee R. Ledbetter, 93, died Friday, July 19 at Allegro Senior Living, Fleming Island, FL.
He is survived by his children Skip (Joanne) of Phoenixville, PA, Holly (Joe Solsona) of Green Cove Springs, FL, Editha (Jesus Lavandera) of Vero Beach, FL, Greta (David Peterson) of Waxhaw, NC, 9 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, sisters Verlon Trozal (Pensacola, FL) and Lola Jean Macaleer (West Chester, PA), and a rather extended family as he was one of nine. He was preceded in death by his wife Georgia (2008), his parents, all 3 of his brothers, and three of his sisters.
Lee was born in 1926 on a Suwannee County farm near Rocky Sink, FL (Live Oak is the nearest big town). He graduated from Suwannee High School, Class of 1943 having failed to convince a Navy recruiter he was 18 following the attack on Pearl Harbor (he was 15, and looked younger than that). After high school, he worked for a short time at the Naval Air Rework Facility at NAS Jacksonville, rebuilding fighter planes damaged in battle. A Navy recruiter asked him if he’d rather be flying the planes than fixing them, and signed up for flight school in 1943. As pilots would be commissioned officers and therefore needing a college degree, the Navy sent him first to the University of Miami (FL) and then Tulane University, where he graduated in 1946, the first of his family to earn a college degree.
He also married his high school sweetheart Georgia in 1946. As the war had ended and the need for new pilots over, Lee parleyed his 6-year obligation to the Navy into a 20 year career in the Supply Corps, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander in 1966. Courtesy of the Navy, he and wife Georgia and children lived in New Jersey, Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, Japan, California, Virginia and Florida.
The transition from the military to the private sector is challenging, but Lee was helped in this by a previous commander who offered him an administrative position in 1966 at Manatee Junior College in Bradenton, FL. To avoid moving his family across the state, he obtained a similar position in 1968 at Florida Junior College in Jacksonville, when their facilities were expanding into the “temporary” World War II military housing along US17 near Edgewood Ave.
At 41, Lee started his second career by following up on a neighbor’s suggestion to look into the health care industry. Medicare had just been enacted, and the resulting opportunities and complexities this offered were not well understood but appeared sizable. One of Lee’s prospective customers was Memorial Medical Center, then under construction in Jacksonville. By investing in understanding the complexities of Medicare, he helped Memorial obtain the approvals needed for the suites of X-Ray equipment the hospital required. As the hospital needed a Director of Finance, Memorial decided that the guy who understood Medicare might just be what they needed and hired him in 1969. He was their CFO until 1974.
In the early 1970s, Lee became aware of the efforts local Orange Park, FL physicians Hinson Stephens, MD (the Ledbetter’s family doctor), Raleigh Thompson, MD, and Tom Harden, DO were making to improve the hospital services for their patients. The physicians were struggling to obtain regulatory approvals for a new hospital and asked Dad for help. This began a long series of breakfast meetings (on the way to work at Memorial) and after work meetings (on the way home). With the building of a not-for-profit hospital blocked, the physicians began negotiating for an investor-owned hospital chain (Humana, now HCA) to build and lease/operate a hospital on land the physicians owned. The negotiations were successful, and Humana Hospital - Orange Park opened In October 1974, with Lee as its first Executive Director (CEO). The hospital’s successful opening, obtaining accreditation in the first year of operation, and continual expansion led Humana to promote Dad in 1981 to Senior Vice President, Florida Region (which included the Greater Orange Park Community Hospital (new name) and 16 other hospitals around Florida). In 1986, Lee began planning for retirement and stepped back from the Region to resume his Executive Director role at Humana Hospital - Orange Park. In 1992, he retired. Lee’s second greatest enjoyment (after his family) came from watching the hospital meet the ever-growing needs of the Orange Park area as first envisioned by Dr. Stephens, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Harden. As his health deteriorated, he added to his enjoyment by experiencing that vision as a patient. He felt blessed with his opportunities, but doubly blessed to see the outcomes.
Lee was a member of Rotary International through the Rotary Club of Orange Park (noon club) from 1969, served as its President in 1974, and was a Paul Harris Society Fellow. An avid Bridge player all his adult life, in recent years he could be found at The Shepard’s Center until a stroke and physical infirmities cramped his style.
Lee was a member of the Grace Anglican Church. A memorial service will be held at Grace Anglican Church, 5804 Highway 17, Fleming Island, FL 32003 on August 5 at 11:00am with Pastor Gus Richard officiating. Cremation arrangements are under the care of Broadus-Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring Street, Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.broadusraines.com. Burial will be private at Magnolia Cemetery, 1040 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, Florida 32073. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to Grace Anglican Church, Rotary Club of Orange Park (P.O. Box 445, Orange Park, FL 32067) or a charity of your choice.
Anna Goodwin Tippette
Anna Goodwin Tippette, 62, of Green Cove Springs, FL, passed away July 28, 2019.
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000. www.broadusraines.com
Salvatore “Sam” Pernaci
Salvatore “Sam” Pernaci, of Orange Park, Florida passed in peace, surrounded by his family, on Friday, July 26, 2019 at the age of 77.
He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Miami, Florida where he was married, and his children were born. The family moved to Orange Park in 1983.
Sam served in the United States Coast Guard and enjoyed a successful business career in construction equipment sales. After retiring from the business world, he wanted to continue to contribute to the community and went to work for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office as a crossing guard for 16 years. Family was the most important thing to Sam. Coaching youth athletics was another one of his favorite passions. He coached soccer, softball and baseball for his children and was front and center cheering and offering instruction as his granddaughters began to play and dance.
Sam’s love for all things involving the water and ocean have been passed down throughout the family. He loved being in and on the water, fishing, boating, diving (scuba/snorkeling), swimming and spending time at the beach. Sam was an accomplished photographer and an avid sports fan.
He was a member of the Coral Cables Lions Club and charter member and past president of the Kendale Lakes Lions Club. Sam will be remembered by his family and friends as a strong, loving man whose faith was impeccable.
Following Sam’s heart transplant in 2000, he was actively involved with TRIO (Transplant Recipients International Organization), providing support and visits to others waiting to be transplanted. He developed and maintained a special ongoing bond with other heart transplant recipients and their families.
Sam is survived by his wife, Joann of 51 years, his two children, Suzanne Groover (Jeremy), Craig Pernaci (Whitney), five grandchildren, Morgan and Emily Groover, Gianna, Camilla and Lucca Pernaci. He is also survived by his sister, Michele Cloutier, brothers, Dean Pernaci (Roxanne), Art Pernaci, sister-in-laws, Kathleen Gomez, Regina Huni and many nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends. His brave fight began in 2000 when he received his heart transplant and most recently when he was diagnosed with cancer. The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the many physicians and their staff for the excellent care he received over the years. We will miss him.
A Memorial Mass will be held for Sam at St. Luke Catholic Church, 1606 Blanding Boulevard on Friday, August 2, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to the American Heart Association.
Please sign the online guest book at www.broadusraines.com. Arrangements are under the care of Broadus-Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL 32043, (904) 284-4000.
James F. Evans
James F. Evans, 92, of Orange Park, FL, passed away July 25, 2019.
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000 www.broadusraines.com
James Douberley, 90, of Orange Park, FL, passed away July 28, 2019.
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000