THE WAY WE WERE

San Jose woman keeps songs, Psalms in her heart

San Jose woman keeps songs, Psalms in her heart

By Amanda Ford Usually once someone has lived to be 80 years old, they are about ready to settle down and enjoy their golden years. Anne Coyle had made those plans for herself, and relished in them as she blew out the candles on her special day. “On my birthday I said to the Lord […]

Celebrating a century: Happy birthday to Addie K. Mallory

Timuquana-area resident Addie K. Mallory will be the center of family and friends’  attention when she is regaled with a centennial barbecue celebration next month in Georgia. Mallory’s 100th birthday open house will be at her lakefront home in Blakely, GA. There will be many fun memories to share. Born August 7, 1912 in Blakely, Mallory […]

The Way We Were: Betty and Tesch Brundick

The Way We Were: Betty and Tesch Brundick

By Victoria Register-Freeman   Betty Blount Brundick likes to point at the letter B cast in concrete above the front door of her home. Her eyes twinkle when she says,” Tesch married me for the B.” The couple met at Lakeshore Junior High School in seventh grade.  Betty remembers, “My class opened Lakeshore. For part […]

The Way We Were: Joyce Thomas Jones — Part I

The Way We Were: Joyce Thomas Jones — Part I

By Laura Jane Pittman   Once upon a time, there was an area of Jacksonville called Southside. Now, dear reader, this is not the same Southside we think of today. It was located in the area of South Main Street and what was then Miami Road — in the vicinity of today’s bb’s and Reddi […]

The Way We Were: Malcom and Kathryn Fortson

The Way We Were: Malcom and Kathryn Fortson

By Victoria Register-Freeman   Malcolm Fortson took the biblical command “Love thy neighbor,” literally. Growing up next door to Kathryn Register, he would often see her playing records on the family porch. Her sister, Beverly — known to everyone as Wookie — would occasionally repeat the well know biblical phrase. As Kathryn recalls, “He was a […]

The Way We Were: Eleanor Ashby

The Way We Were: Eleanor Ashby

By Victoria Register-Freeman   The seed that blossomed into Eleanor Johnson Ashby’s love for history just might have been planted one day at the Jacksonville Terminal, a site know today as the Prime Osborne Convention Center. Wearing a yellow handkerchief linen dress sewn by her mother Imogene, a six year old Eleanor handed a bouquet […]

The Way We Were: Betty Sterling

The Way We Were: Betty Sterling

  By Laura Jane Pittman   When Betty Sterling and her husband Stu were looking to move from Memphis, TN in 1972 after Stu retired from being a Captain in the Navy, they had a wealth of familiar choices. The couple had lived in several U.S. mainland states, as well as more exotic locales such […]

The Way We Were: Alice Coughlin

The Way We Were: Alice Coughlin

By Laura Jane
Pittman

It
says a lot when someone who has experienced the metropolitan worlds of Houston
and New York City is happy to call Jacksonville home. Alice Coughlin wouldn’t dream
of living anywhere else. Even though she smilingly admits to crying for her
first two years here while she adjusted, she considers herself a true Floridian
and “absolutely loves Jacksonville.”

A
former (and occasionally current) fashion model who grew up in Houston,
Coughlin and her husband Warren moved to Jacksonville from New York City in
1958, after he purchased the “little tiny franchise” first known as Florida
Wired Music, later becoming Florida Sound Engineering Company.

The
popularity of Muzak soared during the next few decades, so the Coughlin’s
franchise didn’t stay little for long. The company eventually bought other
franchises and installed sound systems throughout the state and in such local
buildings as Independent Life, Southern Bell, and the original Gator
Bowl.

Meanwhile,
the couple was busy raising children Mark and Cyndi – who were 12 and eight at
the time of the move.

“We
first rented a house in St. Nicholas on Palmer Terrace, and the children could
walk to school at Assumption,” recalled Coughlin. “Mark would get up early in
the morning and walk down to the river to go fishing. I told him I was NOT
cleaning fish, so when he cleaned what he caught, I would cook them for
breakfast.”

From
time to time, Mark would watch Jacksonville artist John McIver painting on the
banks of the St. Johns River. And although the family loved the convenience of
St. Nicholas – there was a medical clinic close by on one corner of Atlantic,
an A&P (now the site of Curry Thomas Hardware) on the other, and a
drugstore at the site of Mudville Grille – some bulldozers in the San Jose
Forest area caught Coughlin’s eye.

“I
developed the bug for designing and building houses when we were in Houston. So
I asked around and found out they were building a new neighborhood. We went
tromping around in boots and work clothes to pick out our lot,” she smiled. “We
built on Saragossa and were the third house in the neighborhood.”

The
family sat down to dinner together every night and shared events from the day,
a tradition that both parents and children treasured. They also frequented
downtown and loved to attend fashion shows at the hotels. Daughter Cyndi would
ride the bus downtown with friends to go shopping and to the movies.

Coughlin
remembers when Epping Forest was mostly woods, and she recalls how much easier
traveling to the other side of the river became once the Buckman Bridge was
built in the early 1970s.

During
the 1970s, Coughlin served on the symphony board and also volunteered with the
American Cancer Society, whose office used to be at the Koger Center on Beach
Boulevard. She still works with the organization today.

After
their stint in San Jose Forest, the family built a house in Deerwood. On a
November 2, 1975 visit to Jacksonville, one of President Gerald R. Ford’s
stops, as memorialized in his daily diary, was the Coughlin house. Cyndi and
her husband Kent Schmidt were on hand to meet him.

Coughlin
grew tired of big houses, and the couple lived for a time at 6000 On The River
condominiums in the San Jose neighborhood, before biting the bullet once again
and building a house in Mandarin where they lived for 12 years. Nine years ago,
they built another home on Sorrento Road in order to be within walking distance
of the San Marco community.

The
greatest tragedy in Coughlin’s life was the loss of son Mark at age 48 to
cancer. Shortly after his death, she and Warren sold their company. Another sad
event occurred four years ago with Warren’s death.

Though
she misses Warren every day, Coughlin, now 84, enjoys a full life with friends
and family, including six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren (the
youngest one was born in March).

“Warren
and I had 62 amazing years together, and we were able to travel all over the
world,” she said. “We were very fortunate, and I am very blessed!”