By Mary Minor Davis
‘A Legacy of Giving and Laughter’
There are few people in life that have the ability to touch every single person with whom they come in to contact, whether it be for one day or for a lifetime. Ken Flower was such a person and his impact on our community will resonate for generations to come.
Flower, 61, died of a heart attack in early August while vacationing with friends in Lake Tahoe, leaving behind his bride of just eight months, Jeanne Flower; children Billy Flower, 27, and Lauren Flower, 24, and stepchildren Andrew Johns, 23, and Janae Windle, 20.
“Kenny was one of those guys whose every expression or gesture was one of love,” Jeanne said. “The affection that couples casually experience every day meant so much to us – taking a walk, holding hands. He was my everything.”
Jeanne met Ken after he joined the Commerce Bank of Arizona board of directors a little over four years ago as both the corporate secretary and chairman of the loan committee. She worked in the Business Development department. After a three-year friendship, the couple married on December 26, 2018. “It was a perfect day,” Jeanne recalled.
Following a successful career in marketing and broadcasting with the NFL and teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams, Flower founded Arizona Party Rental, growing the business into one of the most successful event-planning companies in the region.
John Lewis, president and CEO of Commerce Bank of Arizona, volunteered with Ken in The Centurions, a nonprofit organization that raises money for charities throughout the community. After Flower joined the board, Lewis said he was most impressed with Ken’s business acumen. “Most people don’t realize this but our board serves in an advisory role, setting policy and corporate oversight. Ken took his roles very seriously.”
Lewis said Ken “knew everybody – his brand was all over town. He knew who to refer to the bank and how to help us grow. He was just a very special person.”
Ken gave generously of his time and resources. He supported numerous health-related nonprofits – ranging from the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, El Rio Vecinos, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Brain Tumor Foundation and Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation to the Carondelet Foundation and Tucson Medical Center.
Literacy was also a focus of his philanthropy including the Tucson Festival of Books, Reading Seed, Literacy Connects and Make Way for Books. Children benefited through his support for Ronald McDonald House Charities and Tu Nidito. He also was involved with The Centurions and the Rotary Club of Tucson.
One organization that has seen tremendous growth and is putting Tucson on the collegiate bowl map is the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Flower was a key supporter of the event from its inception.
“I am deeply saddened by Ken’s death,” said Kym Adair, executive director of the organization. “He has been a true friend and supporter of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl from the earliest days and became like family to the staff and volunteers that worked closely with him. His generous spirit, smile and humor attracted so many friends to his side and will be dearly missed. There are many people in this world who say they want to make a positive impact in their community. Ken was someone who actually managed to do it. His legacy of giving and laughter will live on through his family, his friends and through the wonderful community he loved so much.”
“Everything Ken touched was a success,” said Bob Logan, president of the Tucson Rotary. “So many things in our community exist because of his involvement.”
Lewis said he and others are overseeing the planning of Flower’s memorial service, tentatively scheduled for October 6 at the DoubleTree Hotel.