PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Florence Markoff passed away peacefully on July 18 surrounded by her loving family. Born in Attleboro, she lived in Providence her entire life. Married to the late Henry W. Markoff, a renowned architectural engineer, she was the daughter of the late David and Molly Shapiro, sister of the late Shepley Shapiro, mother-in-law of the late Lynn C. Markoff, and grandmother of the late Rachel Molly Markoff.
Florence was a woman pioneer in radio broadcasting. Elected to the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame and Emerson College Radio Hall of Fame, Florence had a very distinctive radio voice instantly recognized by strangers who met her at public events, social gatherings, and at the checkout counters of local supermarkets. The inevitable response was, “you’re the lady on the radio.”
She gave elocution lessons to many students. As a result of her talents in speech, writing and broadcasting, she became known as the “word smith” in which she expounded the origin of words and phrases people say every day. She was a regular featured personality on all the major radio stations – WJAR, WEAN, WPRO – in which she personally broadcast a vignette, “There’s a Word for It.” She also produced a program – “Rhode Island Portraits in Sound – the biographies of interesting Rhode Island personalities from Roger Williams to Buddy Cianci.
Her innate ability and talent as a speaking personality was in demand by many institutions – from the Italian Echo to many Jewish religious and charitable organizations, such as Temple Emanu-El and the Jewish Alliance. She recently wrote and published a book called, “You’ve said a Mouthful” – the origin of “food” words people enjoy every day – from the “cocktail party” to the “meat of the matter.”
She was a member of Temple Emanu-El her entire life from its inception in 1929.
She is survived by her three sons and their wives: Dr. Joseph Markoff (Phyllis), Ronald Markoff (Karen) and Gary Markoff (Eliane). She leaves seven loving grandchildren and their spouses and four great-grandchildren.
Contributions may be made to The Rachel Molly Markoff Foundation in c/o Gary and Eliane Markoff, 33 Chestnut St., Wellesley, MA 02481, or on-line at www.artingiving.com.