By Scott Simmons
HIGHLAND BEACH — A little more than five years ago, Flossy Keesely sat down in her Highland Beach penthouse with The Coastal Star to talk about her long life for a profile.
She greeted her interviewer, prepared lunch and pooh-poohed the notion of calling her Mrs. Keesely, saying simply, “I’m just Flossy.”
She was 96 at the time, and it goes without saying that after living to be nearly 102, she was more than “just Flossy.”
Flossy, born Florence Bosenkopf, on April 18, 1914, in Philadelphia, died Jan. 28, 2016, in hospice care.
In the century she lived, Flossy married the love of her life, pioneered the first television talk show and founded a performing arts awards program.
The walls of her penthouse were covered with autographed photos given to her by friends who included Dale Carnegie, Arthur Godfrey and other household names of another era.
Her parents, Ludwig and Anna Bosenkopf, had emigrated from Austria in 1910. Flossy, an only child, fondly remembered the return trips her parents took to Europe to visit relatives.
In the 1930s, she began dating Nicholas Keesely, who worked in the broadcast industry. They married June 25, 1932, and it was a love affair that continued until Nick’s death in 1999.
In the 1940s, the couple moved to New Rochelle, New York, and Nick transitioned from radio to television. Flossy teamed with Kathi Norris to become the first personalities to host a television talk show, Your Television Shopper, on the old DuMont Television Network. Norris went on to become one of the original hosts of NBC’s Today show.
Nick retired in the ’60s, and the couple moved to Florida, first settling in Fort Lauderdale, before making a home in Boca del Mar. Flossy moved to Highland Beach after Nick’s death.
She remained involved in community affairs, produced a “Pathway to the Stars” talent contest, and in her 90s became a member of the Boca Raton Rotary Club, from which she received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the club’s annual OPAL (Outstanding People and Leaders) Awards presentation.
As she neared her 100th birthday, the tiny Flossy assumed she would die soon after passing that milestone.
She lived on nearly two more years, and left a lasting legacy in the form of a statue and fountain at Mizner Park in Boca Raton that depicts her reaching for the stars, with her little dog Schatzi sitting at her feet.
See it and smile.