Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In Memory of Robert Lowery Gonce

Robert Lowery Gonce, age 76, passed on Saturday, June 13, 2015. Visitation will be Thursday, June 18, 2015, at the First Presbyterian Church of Florence from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. in the fellowship hall, with services to follow at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary with the Rev. Dr. Anna Brawley and the Rev. Dr. Foster Eich officiating. Burial will be at Florence City Cemetery.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Carrie Gonce.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Cummings Gonce, of Florence; his children, Suzanne Gonce Perlis (David), of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Elizabeth Gonce Messer (David), of Florence, Alabama; his grandchildren, Corey Messer, of Florence, Alabama, Caroline Elizabeth Perlis, Robert Wicker Perlis, and Lauren Michelle Perlis, all of New Orleans, Louisiana; one sister, Mary Katherine Gonce King (Harry), of Bowling Green, Kentucky; his nieces and nephews, Harry King Jr. (Nancy), of Louisville, Kentucky, Will King (Elizabeth), of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Miriam Cummings and David Cummings, both of London, Ontario; his cousins, Mary Nell Gonce King, of Florence, Alabama, Bobbie Lowe, of Birmingham, Alabama, Nancy Lowe Ruggles (Gordon), of Sheffield, Alabama, and James Lowe (Patti), of Atlanta, Georgia; as well as his special friends, Marjorie Ezell, Ralph Young, Zach Humphrey, John Lightfoot, and Jessie Pride.

Robert Lowery Gonce was equally committed to his profession, his community, and his friends.

Robert was a 50-year member of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, served on the vestry as the senior warden and sang in the choir. He served on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Foundation, Shoals Symphony as chairman, and the Florence Camerata. He was a member of the Downtown Florence Unlimited and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce. At the University of North Alabama, he was on the President's Council, the President's Cabinet Advisory Committee, a member of the Sportsman's Club, and the National Alumni Association, Friend of the University. He was also a member of the Florence Kiwanis Club for over 50 years, their president, and earned the George F. Hixon Fellow award.

Robert Gonce was an attorney and partner with the firm of Gonce and Messer. He served his profession in various capacities including the Lauderdale County Bar Association as president, Alabama State Bar Association: member Ethics Panel and Bar Comissioner, Alabama Supreme Court Pattern Jury Instruction Committee, Alabama Law Foundation Fellow, and served as attorney for Lauderdale County and the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board.

He was a graduate of Coffee High School and earned the LLB degree from the University of Alabama and also attended Florence State University (UNA).

His other interests included reading, as he was a member of the Sunday night book club, golf, travel, music, and playing bridge.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The University of North Alabama Foundation/Music Deptartment, The St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Shoals Symphony, Florence Camerata, Alabama Law Foundation, or the Music Preservation Society, Inc.


Our sincerest sympathies to the Gonce family. Elizabeth Messer has been a friend to us here and we especially want her to know we are remembering her in our prayers at this time.


Fathers are forever. Even death,
Although a distancing, does not divide
The child from the parent, nor does time,
However long, nor space, however wide.
Enduring beyond silence, beyond breath,
Resonant where hours cease to chime,
Some yearnings inconsolable abide.


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