Civil rights advocate. Drum major for education. Community service powerhouse. Man of faith. Proud Thomas County citizen.
Ira Flowers has long been recognized locally as being all of these things. Early Friday morning, Flowers passed away at his home. He was 61.
The reaction to his homegoing was immediate and heartfelt.
Said Lt. Eric Hampton, of the Thomasville Police Department, “Ira was very passionate about the youth here in Thomasville and Thomas County. He was always making sure that they had positive activities to participate in each and every summer. He was a tireless advocate for their education. He loved this community and its people — especially our young people. I will miss him.”
J.T. Thompson, longtime friend of and fraternity brother to Flowers, added, “We went to school together. We grew up in the same neighborhood at the same time. He helped so many kids get into college. Whatever they needed, Ira provided. He did that not just at Stillman College (his alma mater), but also at many other colleges and universities. He served many years as the youth guide/mentor for the Kappa League and as the director of the Clay Street YMCA. He was a great leader in our community — even back when we were in high school. This is quite a loss. Brother Ira will be truly missed.”
Thompson is director of admissions and family nurse practitioner at the Archbold Northside facility.
Said Steve Ivey, president of the Thomasville Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., “He was one of the founding members of the local chapter. He was the second polemarch (president), holding the position for an unmatched three terms. Brother Flowers won numerous awards in the states of Georgia and South Carolina, exhibiting outstanding leadership qualities. He served on Kappa Alpha Psi’s Provincial Board of Directors for several years, which is a very prestigious post. He was instrumental in our scholarship program. He worked very hard for many years to raise funds for scholarships to help send talented young people to college. He was a tremendous member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. I am very saddened by his transition. Ira will not be forgotten.”
Michael Bryant, field representative for Second District U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop and the president of the 100 Black Men of Brooks, Grady, and Thomas Counties, Inc., said. “The 100 B-G-T Brothers mourn the passing of our brother, Ira, on yesterday morning. His efforts to make this community a better place in which to live speak volumes. We ask everyone to join us in praying for his family.”
Flowers underwent heart bypass surgery in Tallahassee, Fla., in January. After a rehabilitation program in Thomasville, he returned home Wednesday.
Director at the Clay Street YMCA for 31 years, Flowers also was employed at a Columbus YMCA.
He was retired from the Colquitt County Board of Education as a teacher and from the Community Resource Center.