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The Gardens at DePugh recently commemorated the legacy of its founder, Mary Lee DePugh, during the City of Winter Park’s 12th annual Unity Heritage Festival honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DePugh began what is now known as The Gardens as a neighborhood mission in 1932. It officially became a nursing home in 1956, as Florida’s first state-approved facility serving the African-American community.

During the festival, The Gardens’ Board President Jane Hames and Board Chair Rocky Robinson gave a brief presentation about a new headstone being created in DePugh’s memory.
After learning that the current headstone at Pineywood Cemetery was in disrepair, employees of The Gardens held a fundraiser to replace it with a new one, which will be completed and installed in March.

The headstone’s inscription reads: “Mary Lee DePugh: Compassionate caregiver, passionate activist, inspired community leader. She made Winter Park better.”

“Through her efforts to promote diversity and improve quality of life for Winter Park residents, Mary Lee DePugh left a remarkable legacy for our community,” said Hames. “We are honored to celebrate her courageous spirit.”