Governor Ron DeSantis announced the selection of Alice Scott Abbott, Alma Lee Loy and Ethel Thelma Waters to the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. Each year, the Governor selects three nominees from recommendations presented by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.
Alice Scott Abbott
Abbott, formerly of Bunnell, was born in Illinois in 1856 and described as a woman of great ability. She delivered the “first lecture on Votes for Women” at an 1893 convention held in St. Augustine. Abbott formed one of the most loyal Women’s Christian Temperance Unions (WCTU) at Bunnell’s historic First United Methodist Church. She was a “delegate-at-large”, at the WCTU convention in 1913 where the meeting minutes underscored the importance of securing the vote for women. She was later appointed as superintendent of the district and traveled more than 17,000 miles to advance suffrage for women. Once the 19th amendment was ratified, her efforts resulted in voter registration and education for nearly two hundred Flagler County women.
Alma Lee Loy
Loy, formerly of Vero Beach, was known as the First Lady of Vero Beach. She was an original member of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and in 1965 was appointed to the Florida Association of Women’s Safety Leaders. Loy was one of the state’s first female sports columnists, writing under the name “Duffer Dan” for the Vero Beach Press Journal. She became the first woman elected to the Indian River County Commission. Loy later became its first female chairman and one of the first women in Florida to head a county commission. In 2018, she received the Florida “Spirit of the Community” award given to positive role models for women and girls. Loy also operated her own children’s clothing store in Vero Beach for 42 years. She was a mentor to young people and adults who admired her knowledge and opinions and her involvement in her community.
Ethel Thelma Waters
Waters, of Indiantown, was a leading force in her community for civil rights. In the late 1960’s, she opened up her own daycare center to offer affordable childcare options to local farmworkers. She served as the director of the East Coast Migrant Head Start for 10 years, where she held monthly meetings for parents and taught them English in order for them to gain a better understanding of what their children were learning. Waters advocated for healthcare in Indiantown so passionately, that the American Friends Service Committee assisted her in establishing a full clinic with its own doctors and dentists to serve the Indiantown community. Her next area of focus became establishing affordable and quality housing in Indiantown where in 1973 Waters helped facilitate the first neighborhood of affordably priced houses.