Rev. Florence Pitts, 80, had a heart of service

The ever vibrant Florence Pitts was a strong woman with a heart of service who molded young minds in and out the classroom.

“She always would say, ‘represent me well,’ ” said her granddaughters Sandra Redding and Sidnie Ruffin. “And that ‘teachers are not made to teach, they are born to teach,’ ” Redding added.

Pitts taught physical education at E.R. Carter and M. Agnes Jones Elementary Schools, and fifth grade at Minnie S. Howell Elementary School. She retired from the Atlanta school system after 33 years of service.

A single mother of one son, Pitts earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Morris Brown College and two master of arts degrees from Atlanta University, in guidance counseling and elementary education. In subsequent years, she completed coursework toward a doctorate degree.

Mother and son motivated each other: “As much as she was proud” of her son, Richard, “he was equally proud of her,” said her daughter-in-law, Emily Pitts. “She was such a strong and positive woman.”

In 1995, she was ordained a local deacon by the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 2003, she completed her pastoral studies and received her final ordination as a local elder.

“She didn’t just preach, she lived it every day,” said her godson Jack Frost II, president of Lincoln Cemetery.

Pitts liked to stay busy: ” ‘I can’t sit here looking at these four walls all day’ she said,” said Ruffin.

After her retirement Pitts became a pre-need counselor at Lincoln Cemetery. “She walked up to me and said, ‘I’m going to work for you,’ ” said Frost.

The Rev. A. Florence Weaver Pitts died Nov. 15 of complications of cancer. She was 80. A funeral service was to be held at 12 p.m. Saturday at Greater Turner Chapel AME Church, 4650 Cascade Rd., S.W. Atlanta. Lincoln Cemetery and Alfonso Dawson Mortuary, Inc. were in charge of arrangements.

“She was our primary cheerleader every day of our lives,” said Ruffin.

In her free time Pitts took her grandchildren roller skating and bowling. She also organized annual Veterans Day commemorations, which her loved ones said will be remembered as part of her legacy.

“It was not just a day to her, she was a supporter and outspoken advocate for veterans,” said her daughter-in-law, Emily Pitts. “Two of her brothers were service men.”

In previous years, Pitts was appointed chaplain of the Georgia Association of Cemeteries and was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

In addition to her two granddaughters and daughter-in-law Pitts is survived by son Richard Pitts; sister Mary Wright; brother Alonzo Weaver; granddaughter Chevonne Pitts and five great-grandchildren.