Lucy Pope Auxier, long-time resident of Vero Beach, died on Feb. 28 at the age of 97.
She was born June 21, 1912, in Oklahoma City, to Paul Marvin Pope Sr. and Cornelia Cranz. Mr. Pope was the second attorney to move to the then-new state where he soon became actively involved in the gas and oil refining business. He sold his oil properties in the mid 1920’s and Lucy and her brother Paul M. Pope Jr. moved with the family to Jacksonville, where her father bought into the banking business.
Lucy attended high school in Jacksonville and entered Florida State College for Women (now F.S.U.). When she graduated in 1933, she was President of Student Government, Permanent Class President, Pi Beta Phi member and elected class “femme fatale”. After graduation, Lucy moved to Palm Beach County and taught senior high school English and American History for three years.
While in West Palm Beach she married Herschel A. Auxier Sr., landscape architect, in 1936, and they moved to Miami Beach, where they built one of the first homes on the Sunset Islands and started a family. Lucy did volunteer work and was an officer in the Junior League of Miami, was President of the Family Service Board, member of the American Association of University Women and Panhellenic Association, and a founder of All Souls Episcopal Church.
In 1948, Lucy moved with the family to Vero Beach so Herschel could begin developing ranch property west of Wabasso. She immediately became involved in local affairs as a School Board Trustee and a volunteer teacher at VBHS during a teacher’s strike. She became an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an educational organization and helped found the Theater Guild serving with her husband as Chairman of Patrons for the original capital fund drive to build Riverside Theater.
She even found time to take the lead role in “The Gazebo” performed in the old VBHS Auditorium. Lucy was very proud of her role as a co-founder of the Hospital Auxiliary of Indian River Memorial Hospital. She spent two years developing the framework and securing dedicated volunteers to create an organization which has made a major contribution to IRMC. She served as president, on many committees, and was honored with a life membership.
Soon after moving to Vero Beach, Lucy joined Trinity Episcopal Church where she served as Sunday School teacher, was President of Trinity Episcopal Churchwomen, served a three-year term on the Vestry and was Chairman of the Outreach Committee. She was on the Altar Guild, the Long Range Planning Committee, was a Lector and was known as the “walking historian” for Trinity Episcopal Church.
For 42 years (1955-1997) Lucy was co-owner with Alma Lee Loy of Alma Lee’s Children’s Clothing Shop and was involved in buying, marketing, display, public relations and radio advertising. Alma Lee’s is credited with being one of the longest surviving independently owned children’s shops in the State of Florida. Lucy should be credited with originating the phrase “Located in historic downtown Vero Beach” in wide use today.
Lucy served as a board member, an advisory board member and an honorary board member of the Indian River Land Trust, the organization responsible for the restoration of McKee Botanical Garden of which she was also made an honorary member. Lucy was honored with the Book of Golden Deeds Award by the Exchange Club in 1999 and, with Alma Lee, received an Environmental Achievement Award in 2004 given by the Rotary Club – Sunrise.
The Vero Beach City Council proclaimed Tuesday, April 16, 2002, as Lucy Pope Auxier Day.
Many who knew Lucy were unaware of her many accomplishments. They knew her only as a willing listener and someone who encouraged them to reach their full potential.
Lucy was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by her children Herschel Ainsworth Auxier Jr. (Sandy Burnett) of Gainesville, Cornelia Pope Auxier Perez (T. Rene) of Vero Beach, and grandchildren Bretton Perez Jenks (Bryant) of Vero Beach, Jason Perez (Susie) of Denver, and Herschel Auxier III of Chino Hills, Calif. Lucy was “Great Gaga” to five great-grandchildren: Emily, Ashley, and Lauren Jenks of Vero Beach and William “Will”, Christopher “Chris” Perez of Denver, and long time friend, Alma Lee Loy.
She was predeceased by her husband, Herschel A. Auxier and her brother, Paul M. Pope, Jr.
Her memorial service will be held at Trinity Church at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2010 with a reception to follow.
A private family burial service will be held at Crestlawn Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Hospital Auxiliary of IRMC, Scholarship Fund, 1000 36th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960.
Arrangements are under the direction of Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach, Florida. Condolences may be sent through www.seawindsfh.com/obit.php