Obituaries » Claudia Bone Kersey

Claudia Bone Kersey

September 7, 1943 - July 14, 2022

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Claudia Bone Kersey of Lakeland, FL, died of cancer on July 14, 2022 at Good Shepherd Hospice House, Lakeland, FL. A private service was held at Central Florida Funeral Chapel, 2090 East Edgewood Dr., Lakeland, and burial followed at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Claudia was born in Anderson, SC on September 7, 1943 to Claudia Ruth Breedin Bone (Ruth) and Army Air Corps instructor pilot, Captain Marshall Baker Bone. She attended schools in Tampa FL, Lexington KY, Orlando FL, and Tokyo Japan, where she developed interests in figure skating and horseback riding. Claudia graduated from Great Falls High School in Montana in 1961. In Great Falls, she enjoyed helping her mother with Cub Scouts and vacation Bible School, and assisting the Great Falls children’s bowling league. These activities would determine her future career path in education. 

In May, 1965, Claudia received a Bachelor of Science degree, with a double major in history and home economics, from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. With the exception of one year in Alabama, Lakeland remained her home for the rest of her life. In 1977, the University of South Florida awarded Claudia a Master’s of Education with a specialty in curriculum and instruction. 

Claudia began her Polk County career as a physical education teacher and taught at Cleveland Court Elementary School for many years. There, she developed a system for fitness based on the Presidential Physical Fitness Program. The Coordinator of Elementary Physical Education selected Claudia’s program to be presented to the AAHPER (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) meeting in Clearwater, FL. A booklet for area elementary PE teachers featured the games she designed to coordinate with her fitness program. She was also selected to participate in developing and writing PE curriculum. Claudia also taught geography, reading, research, social studies, and history at Kathleen Middle school for many years.  

Claudia married John Cecil Kersey on November 18, 1977. At that time, John was principal of Southwest Middle School. Before dating and because they were both Polk County educators, Claudia and John knew each other slightly. However, at a chance meeting while grocery shopping, Claudia thought John’s cart of frozen dinners, for himself and his two sons, was not the best way to eat, and so she later cooked lasagna for them. 

Community service and philanthropy marked Claudia and John’s life together.  They were members of the First United Methodist Church where Claudia was a vacation Bible school teacher. Claudia was a member and, at one time, the President of the Junior Sorosis Club of Lakeland and was also a member of The Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Claudia’s lifelong passion was to rescue and protect animals in need. With her husband, John, and some close friends, she was instrumental in the organization and development of the Lakeland Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). She took an active role in the life of the SPCA as President, foster home coordinator, and board member. She also contributed to the organization as a member of the building, development, and direction committees. The Junior Woman’s Club recognized Claudia’s accomplishments as President of the SPCA and presented her with a special award for non-profit organizations at their 1990 dedication celebration. In 2017, Claudia’s gift to the SPCA made possible the Claudia Kersey Canine Isolation Unit at their shelter. In 2019, Claudia received the SPCA Community Hero Award “for her dedication in serving animals in the community.”

Claudia was preceded in death by her husband, John C. Kersey, her mother, Ruth B. Bone, and her father, Marshall B. Bone, Colonel USAF, Retired. Claudia is survived by her sons, Charles M. (Charlie) Kersey, Lakeland FL, and William N. (Bill) Kersey, Woodbridge VA, grandson Thomas James (TJ) McAllister, El Cajon CA, brother, Marshall B. Bone, Jr. (Raynelle), Jacksonville FL, niece, Bonnie L. Bone (Grant Thrower), Alexandria VA, niece Megan Denk (Ed), Jacksonville, FL and nephew James Bailey (Emily), Homewood AL. 

For those who wish to remember Claudia with a charitable gift, the family suggests donations in her memory to the animal rescue and protection organization of their choice. 

As Claudia’s brother, Marshall Bone, Jr expressed in the eulogy of his sister, “God will have someone to take care of the animals.”