COLUMN: The elegant flow of unbeatable Flo

Though always in the middle of nearly constant chaos for 40 years, she maintained such an efficient and graceful purpose that you wondered if Flo was a real person or something you plugged in at dawn and turned off at midnight.

Born June 1, 1936, in Ruston to Evelyn Mabel and Lonnie Lee, Ms. Florine Davis “Flo” Miskelley passed away Friday in Ruston due to complications from a stroke.

She was 87.

But in Flo Years, who knows how old she was? In the four decades she worked for (ran?) Louisiana Tech’s athletic department until her retirement in 2005, the University got at least 120 working years from her.

A graduate of both Ruston High (1953) and Tech (1955), she worked eight years in Mississippi before she was hired by Tech football coach and athletic director Joe Aillet in August of 1965 as the ticket manager and the only secretary in the entire athletic department.

She had asked to work anywhere on campus but in athletics. And then she told Aillet she didn’t know anything about football.

“That’s OK,” he told her. “You won’t be playing.”

And she didn’t. But she did most everything else.

She was the last of the old-school athletic business managers and ticket chiefs, doing it all with no technology outside of her brain and ingenuity. Pencil. Pad. Memory. Smiles.

No one knows how she did it. I was 18 and she was 42 and in her prime when I met her in 1978; saw her at the field house most every day for the next six years and heard each of these phrases daily, hundreds of times through the years:

“Ask Flo.”

“Where’s Flo?”

“You’d better talk to Flo.”

“Flo will know.”

Every day of the world.

She was either structured and systematic or the luckiest person ever because whatever needed doing got done, and with a refined and stylish air only she seemed to manage.

She defines Unsung Hero, and there’s one in every athletic department. (We are thinking Roxanne Freeman before her retirement from Northwestern State, as a for instance.) They exude a goodness you can feel on top of a productivity you can see and a competence you can bank on.

Triple threats.

That was Flo. A motion perpetual but unhurried, a spirit undefeated.

Flo made her customers feel special; athletic message boards from other schools mentioned how nice “the ticket lady at Tech” was. She made us boys feel cared for, made us feel we mattered.

And she loved her dogs. You could do a lot worse if you were a stray in Lincoln Parish than to wander up to Flo’s house.

Everybody loved her, is the deal. When she stepped down as Associate Athletic Director, 600 people showed up for her reception and, though she was a bit embarrassed by it all, gave her a standing ovation.

Her obituary was three paragraphs, six sentences, just 129 words. She probably wanted it that way. That’s so Flo.

She was the ticket we were all so lucky to get.

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