Mary Alice Florence

February 10, 1924March 29, 2019

Mary Alice Buchanan Florence was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, on February 10, 1924. She passed on March 29, 2019, with her family gathered around her. She was preceded in death by her husband of over 70 years, Otto Florence, her brothers Owen and Fran Buchanan, and many life-long friends. Mary Alice was the daughter of Owen and Annie Buchanan, who arrived in Twin Falls from Kansas in the early 1900s. Her mother was a talented seamstress and Mary Alice, with her big blue eyes, ivory skin and black hair, wearing her beautiful hand-sewn dresses, looked like a little doll, according to her much older brothers, Owen and Franny, who doted on her. She attended St. Edward’s Grade School for eight years where she met her future husband Otto Florence. She graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United State’s entry into World War II, which sent many of the young men off to war, and left the young women at home to carry on. She volunteered at the USO and, after attending the University of Idaho for a year where she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, she worked at the Department of Entomology, which she always referred to as the “Bug House,” in Twin Falls. During this time, Otto and Mary Alice wrote letters, and then married in 1946 shortly after Otto’s return from service in the South Pacific. While raising her six children, Mary Alice volunteered as a Cub Scout troop leader, Bluebird, and Camp Fire girl leader, assistant at Easter Seal, third-grade religion teacher, a library storyteller, a book reviewer, and volunteer for UNICEF. She served on the board and as chairman of the Twin Falls Public Library, and for eight summers, along with Otto, she volunteered at the Chamber of Commerce Tourist Center. She was nominated for the Governor’s Award for Volunteer service for her many years working with young people. After her children were all in school, she worked in the children’s section of the Twin Falls Library. Mary Alice was a life-time member of St. Edward’s parish and, at 95 years, she had the longest running membership in the parish. She served as co-chair of the Dioceses Development Program, the regional correspondent for the Idaho Register, and as a volunteer at St. Vincent’s. She was truly St. Edward’s historian and, with her reliable memory, a trusted source of information on Twin Falls history in general. Mary Alice and Otto had six children, Patrick Florence, Kelly Jones, Alice Marie Putnam, Margaret Ann Saunders, John Francis Florence, and Brian Florence. When asked by a curious grandson what was the most amazing thing she had seen in her over 90 years, she replied, without hesitation, it was seeing Patrick, her first child, for the very first time. She and Otto went on to have five more children. Each, according to Mary Alice, was amazing and talented. When asked by other grandchildren how she managed to raise six children, she always replied, “We thought we were having fun.” Mary Alice especially loved her annual breaks to accompany Otto to San Francisco to attend the Western State Meat Packers Association convention. Despite her questionable sense of direction, she loved exploring the city on her own. Later, after the children were grown, she and Otto began to explore the greater reaches of the world, including visits to China, Italy, Slovenia, Australia, and New Zealand. Mary Alice fell at home on St Patrick’s day, beginning her final journey, which she completed with dignity, patience, and love, as she had lived her long life. She is survived by Patrick, his wife Wendy, Kelly, her husband Jim, Mrezzie and husband Hugh, Maggie and husband Kenny, Franny and his wife Betsy, and Brian. Grandchildren and great grandchildren include Stacy and Rob Stephens, Emma, Spencer, Logan, Allison and Christian Isaacson; Allison and David Solomon, Adam and Henry; Jon and Becca Edes, Dillon, Christopher, and Miriam; Kristi and David MacDonald, Corbin, Jaden, and Ellie; Kathy Montgomery, Kylee, and Cameron; Emily and Dan Ana, Marley and Sanoe; Shaun Putnam; Annie Stoeger-Edwards, Isaac and Lanie; Lizzie and Morgan Stoeger-Russell, Addie and Owen; Jayne Saunders; Jacob and Reisa Florence, Brent, Otto, and James: Kailea Burgett, Kaitlyn and Travis Johnston, and Keagan Florence. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Friday, April 5, 2019, at St. Edward’s the Confessor Catholic Church, 161 Sixth Avenue East, Twin Falls, Idaho, followed by interment at the Twin Falls Cemetery and lunch at the parish hall. Services are under the direction of Reynolds Funeral Chapel Twin Falls.


  • Rob Stephens, Honorary Pallbearer
  • David Solomon, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Jon Edes, Honorary Pallbearer
  • David MacDonald, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Dan Ana, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Shaun Putnam, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Morgan Russell, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Jacob Florence, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Keagan Florence, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Travis Johnston, Honorary Pallbearer


  • Celebration of Mary Alice's Life Funeral Mass Friday, April 5, 2019
  • Interment Friday, April 5, 2019

Mary Alice Florence

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Kaylin Dennis

April 9, 2019

It was an honor to know Mary Alice & Otto, two of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met. Condolences to the family, and great big hugs, as she is reunited with her Sweetheart now.
Kaylin & Tessa

Carol Bearup

April 4, 2019

To the children and grandchildren of Mary Alice--your mom was such a lovely lady and I always enjoyed seeing her at church or at Joan Allen's house, when Joan was alive ( I took communion to Joan). I know some of you children (Pat--used to be in a church study group w/you years ago), and Kelly (have read your books and met you at a book signing). Met another daughter (a twin?) at, I believe, a wedding who was delightful. As for the grandchildren I have known Reisa and Jake since they were in high school. I am so sorry that I won't be able to be at the service as I am in Spokane with my mom until Saturday and don't return to TF until Saturday night. Healing thoughts & prayers to all of you. Blessings, Carol Bearup

Jim Olson

April 3, 2019

On behalf of the entire Olson Family (Jeff & Donna, Jerry & Suzy, Jim & Janet) we send our heart felt sympathy during this trying time. A Great lady and a Great Family.

Mac Geer

April 2, 2019

Our condolences, prayers and thoughts to the entire Florence family. May Mary Alice rest in peace.
Mac & Kim Geer