Florence Ward Belote

September 8, 1939March 29, 2021

Florence Ward Belote, 81, passed peacefully away on March 29, 2021, surrounded by children, grandchildren, and her adoring husband of 61 years. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, she was the daughter of the late Bowden W. and Frances D. Ward, who brought her to Norfolk in 1954. She enrolled at Norview High School, and soon caught the eye of Howard “Sonny” Belote, who that very day announced he’d met the woman he was going to marry. They wed on April 4, 1959, and until dementia took its toll on “Flo,” were inseparable, adventurous, and fun – with regular dates to go dancing well into their seventies.

Springing from her lifelong love for Howard, her pride—and greatest legacy—was raising five children who still like each other and look for reasons to get together. Flo spent her entire adult life in the Kempsville area of Virginia Beach, but was determined to show her children the United States. She frequently packed the whole family (plus her mom) into a Ford van and with Howard pulled a camper to Florida, to Canada, and on two 30-day trips from sea to sea to visit National Parks and family members across the country. She invited any and all to visit Virginia Beach or their cottage in Duck, NC, frequently and graciously hosting family and friends; her dinner table offered the best fried chicken and meat loaf ever along with lively conversation and laughter. In her later years, she maintained that breakneck pace, traveling with her sister and with close friends to China and Europe, and never lost her sense of adventure. Well into her sixties, she took her grandkids on the highest and fastest roller coasters at Busch Gardens.

Flo also took pride in her career and in her deep faith. While her kids ranged from 4 to 17 years old, she went to nursing school, and spent more than a decade as a cardiac care nurse at Virginia Beach General Hospital. She attended St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and sang in its choir for more than 50 years. She spent long hours studying the Bible, and had no doubt about her future in heaven. While her family and friends already miss her deeply, they celebrate her life and her love.

In addition to husband Howard, she is survived by her children David (Pam), Steve (Elisabeth), Kathy Galford (Steve), John, and Jenny Wells (Mark); grandchildren Drew, Mike, Matt, Zach, Ryder, and Maverick Belote, Mike (Jess) and Mindy Galford, and Paloma and Oliver Wells; her sister Mary Smith (Jim); and a long list of nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her brother, Bowden W. Ward, Jr. (Dolly).

The family will gather at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 1:00pm on Thursday, April 8, with interment at Forest Lawn Cemetery to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Online condolences may be offered to the family at


  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, April 8, 2021


Florence Ward Belote

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Bo Ward

April 7, 2021

Thinking of my dear Aunt Flo... I always remember the pleasant sound of her voice, her warm smile, and the calm, reflective look in her eyes. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve the many good times spent with Aunt Flo, Uncle Ho, and my cousins -- family gatherings, backyard cookouts, staying at their house, and playing with my cousins. Through all the years, she always made everyone feel so welcome and loved! Years later, the Belote Family - including Flo & Ho and my cousins "all grown up" with their families - took a really cool group picture on the beach, all dressed to match in black, and I think it ended up on a Christmas card that year, which I've kept ever since. I think that photo captures the essence of Flo's success in a life well-lived...embracing family, faith, and life's adventure with style and grace.

Jeff Ortega

April 7, 2021

My deepest condolences to the family...
I was blessed to have had both of Mrs. Belote’s meatloaf and fried chicken, among many other beautiful memories, and I have been blessed to have known the family since the 80s! I’ll miss how welcome she always made me feel, how she always had a bright smile for us, and wanted to see how you were doing...

Thomas Goodall

April 7, 2021

Howard and Family, Saddened to read about Flo's passing. Over the many years at Dam Neck, knew Flo as a wonderful person who supported her husband and family. At the many social events, Howard, you and Flo always made the gathering a little brighter, and a lot more fun. Pat and I extend our deepest sympathy; Flo, you and your family are in our prayers.
Tom and Pat Goodall

Dr. Andy and Mary Dickinson

April 7, 2021

It was my sincere priviledge to first get to know Florence as a nurse and then both she and Howard as friends. Florence was such a bright and engaging lady, full of energy and confidence and so committed to her outstanding family. So generous were Howard and Florence who kindly shared their wonderful beach house in Duck with our family and we will forever be grateful.
You children are so fortunate to have such loving parents and in your conduct, you made them so proud.
Andy and Mary Dickinson

Patricia Rusinko-Frey RN

April 7, 2021

I first met Flo when she graduated from nursing school and hired her for a position in my unit. I was nurse manager of the Coronary Care Unit at Virginia Beach General Hospital. She loved bedside nursing and talking with her patients.
My first husband, designed a stain glass window with a sailing ship for their cottage in Duck, NC. We had a chance to stay at the cottage. She was a women with many talents. RIP my old friend.

Roy & Nancy Ward

April 5, 2021

What a wonderful person flo was an active member of St Peters Episcopal church very active We spent a lot of good times with Flo and Howard. She is in haven and will be watching Howard . Howard will all ways have her with him .God be with the family now and for ever

Annick M Fone

April 5, 2021

Howard and family
All my prayers and thoughts are with you during this sad time. I remember Florence from the Crossing, she was always smiling, such a pretty lady. Howard you took such good care of her, as I would see you every day when I was visiting Ray. you pampered her, and showed her your love.
Altzeimer is a devastating disease, and I know that now she is at peace. Stay strong remember the good times they will ease your pain. May god give you strength.

JoLynn (Sanderlin) Adams

April 4, 2021

Belote Family,

Sorry to hear about "Flo". I have so many fond memories of our families growing up in St. Peters. This picture represents her beautifully, the smile shines. I know she will be missed. I pray your cherished memories bring you comfort. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Buck Maddrey

April 4, 2021

So sorry to read this today.

You and I were ride share buddies back during our college days at William and Mary, Norfolk Division. Another Norview Pilot that rode with us was Jeanne Woodard.
That was a long time ago.

My sincere condolences to you and your famiy.

Buck Maddrey Virginia Beach

Sherry McDonnell

April 4, 2021

Florence was my classmate in Nursing School. She was a joy to work with as we learned the fine art of Nursing. She smiled often and was quick to praise or offer help to other students. Her kindness and personality surely made her special to those in her care. The world needs more women like her.