Friday, February 15, 2013
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Minnie Dameron, 88, of Key West, Fla., passed peacefully in her sleep Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

Another Conch earned her pearls. Minnie was born Jan. 9, 1925, in Conch Town, Key West, Fla., to Corrine (Spencer) and Alfred E. Knowles. She and her sister spent their childhood playing on the beaches on Plantation Key and Key West. Like many Conch women, she met a sailor on Duval Street, fell in love and raised a family in Key West.

Minnie was one of the leaders of last year's 100th Celebration of Flagler's Overseas Railroad. She, her sister and parents rode one of the last trains into Key West from Plantation Key before the Hurricane of 1935 wiped out the railroad. Her generation witnessed the dynamics of Key West's expansion and contraction with the opening of the railway and the Great Depression diaspora. Choosing to remain in Key West while many others fled the poverty of the island, Minnie held fast to this special rock. She taught us how to survive the storms, share what we have, and love and respect our elders.

As she grew Key limes, mango and papaya trees in the backyard where we kids played, she and her best friend, Ramona Johnson, cultivated the extended family tree.

Minnie was this Rock's best Conch cook. At 6 a.m. or midnight, there was always warmth and love in a pot on the stove. How lucky she was to have lived all her days in Key West.

She is preceded in death by her daughter, Deborah Ann Combs (Christopher), husband Herbert "Spike" Dameron, and grandson Dean "Dean-O" Peagler.

She is survived by her children: Gloria (Don) Wilson, Herbert "Yogi" (Cyndi) Dameron Jr., all of Key West; Eve (Russ) Jensen of Salt Lake City, Utah; grandchildren: Kelly Peagler-Salinero (Chad), Julie (Rob) Combs-Querry, William Combs (Alicia), Michael Combs, Amber Dameron, Richard Poe (Heather) and Alex Jensen, and great-grandchildren:Brady Alvah Cyrus Querry, Ryleigh, Kara and Taryn Poe.

Minnie's family extends their gratitude to Hospice/VNA with special heartfelt thanks to the Rev. Stephen E. Braddock, who embraced her in his love and kindness. Additional thanks to her in-home caretakers Olga, Yonie, Joanna, Pam, Dean-O, Val, Vicki and Toy.

Minnie requested donations be sent to Hospice of Key West, 1319 William St., Key West, FL 33040.

In true Minnie fashion, Conch hospitality will be welcomed from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at her house on Patterson Avenue.