Alice Lockmiller became part of the Edison family in 1976 through longtime friends Lloyd and Jody Hendry. Education has always been important to Alice. “It is education that enabled me to be a successful business woman. Without that success I would have never been able to support the two causes that mean so much to me – education and the Methodist Church.”
Lockmiller was born in 1910 to a father who came to Florida in 1882 – less than 40 years after Florida became a state – searching for land to farm. Her mother arrived shortly after, lured by swaying palm trees and fresh oranges. Although the farmer and school teacher both successfully settled first in Palmetto and later near Ocala, they both only enjoyed Florida’s prosperity until their their deaths in the early 1930s.Â They left Alice with the family house and some land.
With $1,495 her father had given her, Alice built a one-bedroom cottage with indoor plumbing and then bought a four-bedroom house, which she got for only $1,000 because it lacked an indoor toilet. She rented both properties.
This gave her enough income to attend Tennessee Wesleyan College and receive her teaching degree. After teaching for a few years, Alice saw the growth happening in Florida and knew it made sense to concentrate on real estate. Her real estate career flourished and eventually brought her to Fort Myers where her success continued until her retirement in 2000.
Alice never lost her love for education. The success of her real estate business afforded her the opportunity to support several educational institutions. Alice has served on the Board of Trustees at Florida Southern and American University and received an Honorary Doctorate from Tennessee Wesleyan and Wilmington College.
A devout Christian, Alice has been deeply involved in the Methodist Church traveling the world restoring historic Methodist sites and advocating world peace. She underwrote the prestigious World Methodist Peace Award, which has been awarded to the likes of Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter.
In September of 2006, Alice Lockmiller made a $750,000 gift to Edison State College for the Early Childhood Education Program. The State of Florida’s Dr. Philip Benjamin Matching Program will match the $750,000 with another $650,000. The total endowment fund of $1,400,000 will support the recruitment and retention of students through scholarship incentives and enhancements to the Early Childhood Education Associate in Science Degree Program.
“We are so proud to have the Alice W. Lockmiller Child Development Center on our campus. Alice was been a great friend to the College for more than 30 years and I can’t think of a better way to acknowledge her tireless support of education”, said Mary Lee Mann, Chairman of the Edison College District Board of Trustees and Member of the Foundation Board of Directors.
Lockmiller’s love of education has afforded her the opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees at Florida Southern and American University, and receive an Honorary Doctorate from Tennessee Wesleyan and Wilmington College. Her “Common Sense Scholarship Fund” awards scholarships to Edison students giving them a chance to use their “common sense” and live their dreams. “You can’t have a dream come true unless you have a dream” says Lockmiller.