Lake Lona Elementary School, Lake City, Columbia County, Florida
Lake Lona Elementary School
Lake City, Columbia County, Florida

* Located: 6.5 miles west of Lake City, FL on Hwy US90
* Opened in 1928 and closed in 1963.
* There were only 2 classrooms in this 3 building school.
* One of the buildings was the cafeteria / lunchroom.
* There were only 2 teachers in the school and 1 was the principal.

Mrs. Mattye Evelyn BRINKLEY Witt
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Evelyn Witt

Evelyn B. Witt
image furnished by: Allen Witt (her son)
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Mrs Evelyn Witt was a teacher and, at the same time, she was the principal of Lake Lona Elementary School for many years.

Lake Lona Elementary School closed permanently in 1963.
The last 2 teachers were:

* Mrs Evelyn Witt (principal & teacher 1st - 3rd grade)
* T. J. Geiger (teacher 4th - 6th grade)

Evelyn Witt was one of the last teachers and principal at Lake Lona Elementary School. She was there till the school permanently closed it's doors in 1963.

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Evelyn Witt info

Evelyn Witt info
image furnished by: Witt
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Information About:
Mrs. Mattye Evelyn BRINKLEY Witt.

Mrs. Evelyn Witt was a teacher and principal of Lake Lona Elementary School starting in the mid 1950's and ending in 1963 when Lake Lona School closed. She continued teaching at other schools after 1963.

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Evelyn Witt grave

Evelyn Witt grave
image furnished by: Witt Family
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Mrs Evelyn Witt was principal & 1st, 2nd & 3rd grade teacher of Lake Lona Elementary School from the mid 1950's till the school permanently closed it's doors in 1963.

Mattye Evelyn BRINKLEY Witt
Born: September 6, 1911 Lake City, Columbia County, Florida
(she was born in the Huntsville Church area west of Lake City, off Lake Jeffery Road)
Died: May 12, 2007 (age 95) Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida
Buried: Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery, Ellisville, Columbia County, Florida

Mrs. Mattye Evelyn Brinkley Witt, 95, of Lake City, died Saturday afternoon, May 12, 2007 in the E.T. Yorke Hospice Care Center in Gainesville, Florida, following an extended illness. A lifelong resident of Columbia County, Mrs. Witt was the daughter of the late William & Josephine Havird Witt. Mrs. Witt was a pioneer educator for women teachers and principals who followed her. She started teaching school with just a high school diploma and then started attending the University of Florida, before it admitted women to regular classes, when she learned women teachers were allowed to attend summer sessions. She went on to graduate with her Bachelors degree from the university. She taught school for many years and later became the principal of the Good Luck and Lake Lona Schools, a major accomplishment because at that time women principals were rare. One of her greatest accomplishments, according to her, was being appointed the first principal of the Special Education School, the very first school in this county to offer separate classes to students with significant learning disabilities. Due only to her ill health, Mrs. Witt reluctantly retired after thirty-nine years of professional teaching service. In addition to teaching Mrs. Witt attended both the Huntsville Methodist Church and the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, she was passionate about both. In her spare time she enjoyed reading and was a member and advocate for the C.A.R.C.. Mrs. Witt was preceded in death in 1952 by her husband, Alton Coil Witt.

Mrs. Witt is survived by her son, Allen Witt and his wife, Mercedes of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Funeral services for Mrs. Witt will be conducted at 3:00 P.M., Wednesday, May 16, 2007 in the Huntsville Methodist Church with Pastor Jim Messer officiating. Interment will follow in the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery in Ellisville. The family will receive friends from 5-7:00 Tuesday evening at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers the family wishes the memorial contributions be made to either the Huntsville Cemetery Fund, 479 N.W. Huntsville Church Drive, Lake City, FL 32055 or the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery Fund, 4738 S.W. Tustenoogee Avenue, Lake City, FL 32024.

(The family and the funeral home staff gratefully acknowledge the authorized use of a commentary written by Mr. Morris Williams as information for composing this obituary.)
(Correction: to "location of death"; correction made as per info from her son Allen Witt "She died at a hospice in Gainesville (not West Palm Beach)"; edited by Henry Jordan Aug 12, 2015)

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Alton Coil Witt grave

Alton Coil Witt grave
image furnished by: Witt Family
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This is Evelyn Witt's husband:

Alton Coil Witt
b. 9 Sep 1911
d. 29 May 1952 Union County, Florida
Buried: Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery, Ellisville, Columbia County, Florida

Alton Witt operated an airport that was located about where the Lake City WalMart is currently (2015) located near I-75 in Lake City, Florida (The airport was located .7miles east of I-75 on US-90, north side of road OR 4.3 miles east of Lake Lona School on US-90, north side of road. Airport address: 2767 W US HWY 90, Lake City, Florida.

Alton was killed in a crop duster plane crash in May of 1952.
His wife, Evelyn, remained his widow for 55 years till she died in 2007.

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Witt Family grave

Witt Family grave
image furnished by: Witt Family
Alton Coil Witt and his wife Evelyn Witt
are buried together with Alton's parents:
Aaron & Mary Witt
in the Witt Family cemetery:
Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery, Ellisville, Columbia County, Florida

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Allen Witt

Allen A. Witt
image furnished by: Allen Witt
Mrs Witt's son
Talks about his mom
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Allen A. Witt, son of Mattye Evelyn BRINKLEY Witt and Alton Coil Witt.

This info is from an e-mail Allen Witt sent to Henry Jordan Aug 9, 2015.

My name is Allen Witt. My mother was Mattye Evelyn B. Witt, former teacher and principal at Lake Lona. My mom was born in the Huntsville Church area west of Lake City, off the Lake Jeffery Road. She took the elementary teaching exam when she finished high school and started teaching in the 1920s. She later went to the University of Florida during summers to complete her bachelors degree. (In the years when UF was all male.) She was principal and only teacher at Good Luck and Fallen Creek Schools North of Lake City.

My dad, Alton Witt, was a crop duster, and owned a tiny airport, across from the current mall in Lake City. He was killed in a crash in May 1952, when I was 9 month old. Mom had intended to stay at home with me, but went back to work in August 1952. That may have been when she came to Lake Lona. In my earliest memories, she was a teacher at Lake Lona. It was more like a community than a school. Ms. Hunter cooked in the cafeteria. She was like a mother to everyone. Her husband, Israel was on the school board (I believe) and their son Ed was a student. There was a big Halloween carnival every year, that was a highlight of the community. I remember making caramel apples and popcorn balls for days before. The haunted house in the big front classroom, scared me to death. They also had "operettas", I remember girls in long dresses. Mom must have been the director.

I remember Mr. Neely and Mr. Geiger as principals. Mom was friends with Mr. Geiger and his family for many years. I also remember young Mr. Brannan, who drove a tiny car and had a wonderful personality. I also remember Ms. Obrien, who taught there when I was in the 6th grade. She was an artist, but only stayed a year or two. At some point, mom became principal, but was still a teacher.

My cousin, Allen Bryan, went to Lake Lona until he developed Muscular dystrophy at about 10 years old. I remember mom particularly talking about the Nash kids. Little Henry "Henny" was a very dear to her.

Mom and Mr. Hunter fought to save the School. I also think that Jim Hanna, in the superintendent's office helped. There was a big move to close rural schools and move children to "higher quality" city schools. Mom used to point out that her graduates filled the honor roll list of Columbia High-- even though she taught several grades in the same classroom. Eventually, they lost the battle.

Mom became principal of the first Special Education School in the County. At the end of her career, she taught Special Education at Melrose School. She retired after suffering "terminal" colon cancer at about 60 years old. She ignored the doctors and lived another 34 years. She died at a hospice in Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida. She had lived with us at West Palm Beach until a few months before her death in 2007.

Allen A. Witt
Ruskin, FL

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I attended Lake Lona Elementary only for the 1962-63 school year.
I was in the 3rd grade. Mrs Evelyn Witt was my teacher.

Research, webmaster, genealogy and written by:
Henry M Jordan

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