When I was a young lad, I use to walk through our local cemetery after funerals and read epitaphs engraved on certain tombstones. As I got older, I realized that the late individuals in those graves had done something of value for someone who wanted the name remembered.
In my lifetime, I have known countless individuals of substance who deserve an epitaph on their headstone for their great work for humanity. One such individual is the late Rev. Lewis Flowers, who died last week.
Rev. Flowers was a consummate volunteer in our community — in education, social services and religious affairs. He also served his country with honor. Over the years, I was involved with Rev. Flowers on a multiplicity of issues. He was committed in extreme vigilance toward improving students’ education, school facilities and quality educational programs. He constantly worked to embellish the involvement of West Side ministers and their churches in the community, and he did not turn his back on eleemosynary (i.e. charitable) institutions. Where he was needed, he served. He wasn’t a man of opulence but a common, kind, simple man, trying to help his fellow man in every way he could.
When we lose such an individual in our community, I always beg these questions: Who has followed and learned to lead? Who will step up and be the next leader? The Lewis Flowers kind aren’t realized every day, but it’s about time they show up.
All of us owe Rev. Lewis Flowers and his family a debt of gratitude for his efforts toward improving our total community.
Those epitaphs I read on tombstones so many years ago are most certainly applicable to the late Rev. Lewis Flowers: “Gone but not forgotten.”
Ed Smith is the former 28th Ward alderman and Democratic committeeman.