Josephine T. Coarsey

Josephine T. Coarsey, 91, Cortez, died Aug 20, 2016. Born in White Haven, PA. moved to Cortez, FL. 72 years ago. Preceded in death by parents; Chester & Julie Okrasinski, loving husband of 72 years Wyman Coarsey.

A loving and devoted housewife and mother of six, Yvonne (Miles) Lacey of Bradenton, Thomas (Sharon) Coarsey of Murphy, NC. Donald (Carol) Coarsey of Palmetto, Debbie Coarsey of Murphy NC. Mark (Becky) Coarsey of Bradenton, FL. Tanya (Joe) Bass of Manchester, TN. 14 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grands.

Visitation is 12-1pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016 with services to follow at 1pm at Brown & Sons Funeral & Crematory 604 43rd St. Chapel in Bradenton, FL. Pallbearers; Tom Coarsey, Donnie Coarsey, Mark Coarsey, Lee Coarsey, Miles Lacey, Noah Andrews.

Condolences to

Published in: on August 23, 2016 at 12:09 am  Comments (1)  

Judith Ruth Augsburger


Judith Ruth Augsburger 82, went to be with her Lord Jesus on August 2, 2016. She died at her home in Bluffton, Ohio.

Judith was born to the late John L McDonald and Mamie Ruth (Bonnell) McDonald in Cortez. Raised in a commercial fishing family she grew up eating mullet that her father provided from fishing and it was her favorite meal along with some grits.

On February 12, 1956, she married Bill Augsburger, who preceded her in death on April 19, 1987. Judith was a graduate of Manatee High School and a member of Samoset Baptist Church. She was a beautician, a housekeeper and along with her husband Bill, they owned and operated the Horseshoe Bar in Bluffton Ohio. She was also a Sunday School Teacher and Girl Scout Leader. Judith was preceded in death by great-granddaughter, Sadie Brodman; brother, Joseph McDonald; sister, Jacqueline Mofield. Survivors include son, John Augsburger of Zebulon, NC; daughter, April Dorman of Bluffton, OH; son Kevin Augsburger of Bradenton, FL; 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Visitation 1:00-2:00PM with Services to follow at 2:00PM, Monday, August 8, 2016 at Samoset Baptist Church, 3200 15th Street East Bradenton Florida. Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 26th Street Chapel, 5624 26th Street west, Bradenton, FL 34209 is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Florida Maritime Museum 4115 119th Street West Cortez Florida 34215. Condolences may be made to

Published in: on August 5, 2016 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Cortez Bridge alternatives on deck at Aug. 9 DOT meet


A map shows the area the Florida Department of Transportation is studying as it determines the future of the Cortez Bridge. Islander Graphic: Courtesy DOT

A public meeting about the project development and environment study on the future of the Cortez Bridge will be 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.

The Florida Department of Transportation scheduled the open house, where people can ask questions and provide comments to DOT representatives in a one-on-one setting.

The DOT plans to show a video exploring alternatives for the bridge on State Road 684/Cortez Road. The Cortez Bridge connects Anna Maria Island to the mainland, spanning Sarasota Bay from Cortez on the east side to Bradenton Beach on the west side.

The DOT said the study limits are Cortez Road from State Road 789/Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach to 123rd Street West in Cortez, a distance of about a mile.

In the engineering and environment study, the DOT is analyzing:

• A no-build option of continued repair of the existing bridge.

• Replacement with a 21-foot vertical clearance drawbridge.

• Replacement with a 35-foot vertical clearance drawbridge.

Replacement with a high-level fixed bridge within the existing corridor.

The DOT, in a bulletin, said it would send noticesof the forum to property owners within 300 feet of either side of SR 684 in the study limits, as well as people living or owning property west of 115th Street West on the mainland approach to the bridge and everyone who lives or owns property on Anna Maria Island and north Longboat Key.

The DOT “encourages all interested people to attend and express their views regarding the project and information presented,” the bulletin said.

For more information about the study, go online to

Published in: on July 26, 2016 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Virgil Mora

Virgil Mora , 91, died June 17 at his home in Morresville, North Carolina.

Mr. Mora was born in Cortez and lived most of his life in Bradenton. He was the first son born to Albert and Estella Capo Mora.

He volunteered when World War II began in 1941 and served in the U.S. Navy. He was one of only four Cortez veterans surviving in 2016.

Upon returning home from the Navy, he fished for some years and then went to work for the Manatee County Utilities Department for two decades.

Plans are being made for a memorial service in September in Cortez.

Mr. Mora is survived by his wife, Peggy; sister Nola Jewell; nieces Anna, Diane and Linda; nephews Tracy, Scott, Joseph, Phyllip.

Published in: on July 12, 2016 at 7:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Consultant prefers high Cortez Bridge

From the Anna Maria Island Sun – June 15, 2016.

Published in: on June 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cortez Woman’s Club focused on children, church and communit y

The women of Cortez started the Mother’s Club of Cortez in 1918

Their interests and actions crept into regional and statewide politics as well

Devastating hurricane of 1921 wreaked havoc on Cortez that they could not easily recover from

The Cortez Church of God was established in the early 1900s.The Cortez Church of God was established in the early 1900s. Provided photo

The Cortez Church of God was established in the early 1900s. Provided photo

By Amara C. Nash

In the early years of Cortez Fishing Village, daily life was focused predominantly on fishing if you were a man, and domestic affairs if you were a woman. The men formed bonds via their shared struggles and triumphs, the women were inherently more secluded. They shared the common bond of having left behind many of the societal structures they were accustomed to, and alliances gradually emerged from the desire to rebuild community.

Religion was one of the early means by which women got involved outside the home. They would go in groups to attend religious services in Sarasota or Bradenton and, in 1913, they established a permanent Church of Christ congregation in Cortez. While men were certainly considered members of the church, the pews were mostly filled with women and children each Sunday. A second church, The Church of God, was established a few years later.

Children provided another shared interest for the women of Cortez. They started the Mother’s Club of Cortez and held their first meeting on Dec. 20, 1918. Their primary goal, as stated in the minutes from their first meeting, was the betterment of their school and their town, asserting that a better school and better town would make for better children.

They had a vision of a well-rounded and high-quality education for their children, and held fundraisers to purchase things like athletic equipment, bookcases and a piano. When the men of Cortez were too busy to do the work, they hired out the job of weeding and fencing the school yard.

While these women were very involved in their immediate community, their interests and actions crept into regional and statewide politics as well. They voiced their opinions on a statewide compulsory school law, and created a committee that convinced Bradenton landowners to donate the empty lot adjacent to the school for use as a park and school ground.

They changed their name from the Mother’s Club of Cortez to the Woman’s Club of Cortez in September 1920

The community improvement efforts of these women were recognized in the pages of the Manatee River Journal and, as their work continued, their mission expanded. Indicative of their growing role, they changed their name from the Mother’s Club of Cortez to the Woman’s Club of Cortez in September 1920. Since membership was no longer restricted to mothers, women and girls (aged 13 and older) were invited to contribute in any way they could.

Of the 79 women in Cortez at the time, almost half belonged to the Woman’s Club. Their fundraisers not only provided revenue for their various projects, but they hosted social hours and plays that provided important social and cultural opportunities for the somewhat isolated women. In an effort to alleviate that isolation, they petitioned the “Road Trustees” to improve the western end of the Bradentown-Cortez road, allowing them easier access to the neighboring city.

The final meeting of the Cortez Woman’s Club was April 28, 1921. They had decided to take the summer off and regroup the following fall. Unfortunately, the devastating hurricane of 1921 wreaked havoc on Cortez that they could not easily recover from. The Woman’s Club was pushed to the back seat indefinitely. Although a similar group never again formed, it successfully nudged women from their homes into a more public sphere, where they have remained active ever since.

If you would like to learn more about the women of Cortez, both past and present, you can visit the Florida Maritime Museum. It is free and open to the public 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 941-708-6120 or visit

While you’re there, consider visiting the new Cortez Cultural Center, opened by the Cortez Village Historical Society, focused on the families that founded the village.

Amara C. Nash, supervisor at the Florida Maritime Museum, loves museums, art, music, culture and history, and splits her time between her two favorite villages: Cortez Fishing Village and Village of the Arts. Email: amara.nash@manatee Phone: 941-708-6121

Read more here:

Published in: on June 8, 2016 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mabel Adams Hipp

Mabel Adams Hipp

Mabel went to be with her Lord on Sunday evening. She was 89. She took her place in heaven where she was reunited with her loving husband of 60 years, Kenneth O. Hipp, Jr.

Mabel was born in Bradenton, Fl and grew up in Cortez, Fl with her six Brothers and two sisters. She was a lifelong resident of Florida. She attended Florida Southern College and Florida State University. Her career took her to City Hall in Sarasota where she worked part-time as the secretary to the City Manager. Mabel was devoted to her family and was considered to be a “great cook” by everyone who knew her. She enjoyed summer outings to the Keys with her many friends and her favorite hobby was going to garage sales on Saturday mornings.

She was a faithful member of the South Trail Church of Christ. Mabel will forever be remembered by her children Karen E. Hipp and Kenneth O. Hipp, Jr as well as countless family and friends who knew and loved her.

Services will be held at the South Trail Church of Christ on Thursday, June 9th at 11:00 am. Arrangements by Manasota Funeral Home.

Published in: on June 7, 2016 at 7:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Honoring the fallen from a fishing village

Mary Fulford Green, 90, is the unofficial historian of the fishing village of Cortez. This photo is from May 2014. Staff photo by Thomas Bender

By Chris Anderson

Published: Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:13 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:13 a.m.

CORTEZ — Mary Fulford Green is sitting in the living room of her old house in the fishing village of Cortez. She is 90, and this is where she heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.

It was also in this house, she remembers, that her family would hang dark curtains over their windows so the German U-boats they feared were lurking in the Gulf of Mexico could not detect light.

She remembers wartime well — the boys who would gather old rubber tires out of the bay for people to use, the teen girls who would sell war bonds to the fish house owners, the residents who would eat rationed food when nothing was biting.

She also remembers those who served. Cortez is many things. It is a proud, hard-working fishing village that dates back well over a century, a place tainted by major drug smuggling in the 1970s and 80s, an area crushed by the net ban, forcing fishermen to reinvent themselves to survive.

It is also a village proud of those who served in the military. Cortez, according to a book titled “Fog’s Coming In” by Doris Green, had 67 residents serve in World War I and II. Five of those servicemen died fighting for their country, and at least three of the bodies never made it home.

Of the 67 who served from Cortez, according to Mary Fulford Green, only four are alive today. Included is 96-year-old Cleve Adams, who brought the body of Bridger Watson back to Bradenton from Pearl Harbor. Watson was the only person from Bradenton to die in the attack.

Green is an authority on Cortez history, and can spend days talking about virtually everyone who has ever lived there.

She used 92,000 rewards points off a credit card to buy a printer so she can print out old photos of war vets that families send her.

There are six military uniforms inside boxes at the Cortez cultural center, and she wants to put them on mannequins and set up a display with the photos.

“Somewhere in this town I’m going to have a veterans hall of honor where the names have to be read from five feet away,” she says.

There is a memorial in Cortez — hidden behind a tree near a restaurant — that recognizes fishermen lost at sea. It also has the names of the five who died while serving their country.

Warren Bell was a member of the Navy who served upon the S.S. Arthur Middleton. On New Year’s Eve 1943, his ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in Africa. He was listed MIA for a year before his family was notified.

James Campbell was aboard the U.S.S Yorktown when a Japanese plane dropped a bomb on the ship, and Green says his body was never recovered.

William Posey of Cortez was on the same PT boat that rescued General Douglas MacArthur. Posey’s boat was ultimately captured and he was beheaded. John Wayne once starred in a movie about the crew of the boat.

Leroy Wilson, Green’s uncle, was riding a motorcycle from Cortez back to his Army camp in Tampa when he crashed and died near the Manatee-Hillsborough county border.

The only World War I casualty from Cortez was James Coarsey, who was killed in France.

“I like the term ‘Lest we forget,'”Green says. “We have forgotten what they did.”

Chris Anderson can be reached at chris.anderson

Published in: on May 30, 2016 at 7:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Florence “Flo” Campbell

Florence “Flo” Campbell of Cortez, Florida passed away on May 17, 2016. Flo was born in Kansas City, MO, to the late; Omar and Eugenia Frisbee Robinson. Her family moved to Cortez Florida 50 years ago. As a young girl, she used to go to “The Rec” pool hall on the beach, where she met and fell in love with John Campbell. Their love would span the next 47 years. Flo worked for Tropicana for 12 years and worked as a waitress at Cortez Café. Her greatest love of all was for her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Flo is survived by her husband, John Campbell, of Cortez, FL, son, John (Jennifer) Roberts of WV, daughters: Candy (John) Tyson, of Bradenton, FL, Johnna Norment, of Bradenton, FL, brother, Wayde (Mary) Campbell, of Bradenton, sisters; Stevie (Bill) Deckard, of Walnut Grove, MO, Anna Henson, of Las Vegas, NV, Vicki Morgan, of Cortez, FL, Loretta (David) Tupin, of Bradenton, FL, Jeanie (Mike) Webb, of Castleberry, FL, grandchildren; Brittany Ferrero, Maranda Tyson, Whittany Norment, Johnaca Tyson, Sailor Norment, Nicholas Roberts, Alex Roberts, Matthew Roberts, Skyla Roberts, great grandchildren; Hayley Herschberger, Landyn Tyson, Kairi Ferrero, Lil Lighnin Ferrero, Connor Stoddard and Annabella Scholl. Flo was preceded in death by her parents, brother, Ronnie Robinson, grandson, Christopher Baker.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm at the Starfish Restaurant on Cortez Beach. Arrangements have been entrusted to Skyway Memorial Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at

Published in: on May 20, 2016 at 6:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Good times at Cortez picnic



The Cortez picnic was held on the Albert Few-Miller public dock
on the Cortez waterfront

CORTEZ – A cool breeze blew off Sarasota Bay, and mullet splashed near the Albert Few-Miller public dock where the close-knit residents of the historic fishing village of Cortez gathered on Saturday at their annual Cortez Community Picnic.

Students from the Manatee School for the Arts presented a maritime art exhibit with photographs and paintings of Cortez, and entertained with readings from books about Cortez.

All enjoyed the potluck lunch featuring fresh mullet – a Cortez staple – with shrimp, hush puppies, vegetable side dishes and homemade desserts, including a tart made with guava, another Cortez staple.

Residents shared photos and stories and caught up with each other’s family events as fiddler Soupy Davis and his band provided homegrown music.

The picnic began in 1990 on the grounds of the Florida Maritime Museum, formerly the Cortez Rural Graded School, where many picnic-goers attended elementary school.

The event is sponsored by the Cortez Village Historical Society, which recently opened its Cortez Cultural Center on the FISH Preserve, east of the museum on Cortez Road.

Published in: on April 20, 2016 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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