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William F. Florence, 81, of Chino, Calif., a former employee of Bethlehem Steel Corp. who spent his early years in the Buffalo area, died Dec. 6, 1997, in Chino after a brief illness.

Raised in Buffalo's East Lovejoy neighborhood, he attended School 43 and graduated from East High School in 1934.

He served in the Navy Seabees between 1942 and 1945 and returned to Buffalo briefly after World War II.

Before joining the service, he was a draftsman at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna.

He moved to California in 1946 and continued as a draftsman until his retirement 15 years ago.

Survivors include his wife, Mildred Schoedel Smith Florence of Chino; two sons, Donald W. of Los Angeles and Donne R. of Honolulu; and three stepsons, William Braid of Redmond, Wash., and Michael and Mark Braid, both of Chino.

Services were held last week in Chino. Burial was in La Habra, Calif.


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