Memorial Dedicated in John Flowers’ Memory

POUGHKEEPSIE – A “Music and Light” memorial was dedicated to the memory of the late community activist John Flowers on Thursday at the Family Partnership Center.

The memorial features metal figures of musicians that were once located on Poughkeepsie’s Main Mall. When the Main Mall was re-opened to allow two-way traffic on Main Street in 2001, the artwork was sent to the city’s dump where it sat until Family Services, Inc. approached Mayor Robert Rolison about reclaiming it earlier this year.

The mayor agreed and the four pieces were brought to the Family Partnership Center. Family Services’ CEO Brian Doyle said Flowers was “a hero” in the community.

“This is the eve of what would have been John’s 75th birthday so we thought this would be a fitting time to do this,” Doyle said.

Citing Flowers’ love of music, Doyle said “if you look at the music that is being made (in the memorial) it is representative of the services offered at the Family Partnership Center among all of the partners at the center.”

John’s two adult children, Frankie and Yvonne were at the dedication and both were very emotional. “It’s amazing that the people of Poughkeepsie still remember him and honor him and still want to come out and support the things he started,” said Frankie.

John Flowers was responsible for organizing many of the community parades and holiday programs that still continue under the direction of Frankie and Yvonne.

Yvonne Flowers also represents the fifth ward on the city’s common council and said “people always looked at my dad as that bright light in their life in their moment of darkness.” Frankie Flowers added that both he and his sister are continuing to build on their father’s legacy by improving the programs initiated by him.

Tara Whalen, associate director of Dutchess Outreach at the Family Partnership Center said, “John was vital to the Poughkeepsie community and the children loved his programs.” She also said that Flowers “was always willing to help Dutchess Outreach help others and I’m glad that Frankie and Yvonne are continuing his great work.”

State Senator Sue Serino echoed Whalen’s sentiments while Rolison called the memorial a fitting tribute to the honoree. “This highlights John Flowers. He was the Godfather of Poughkeepsie like the Godfather of Soul.”

The monument can be visited in front of the Family Partnership Center located at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie.

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