Lasting tribute to a leader
Lynthia Flowers spent the day before her death surrounded by friends and family as the town of Tambellup came together to open a facility named after the woman described as their “rock”.
Ms Flowers, who died of lung cancer last month, was humbled to make the opening of Lynthia’s Place, a community centre and garden which she willed into existence.
The name of the facility was kept secret from her until days before the opening of the revitalised Relationships Australia building, which had already been brought forward weeks because of her deteriorating health.
With patient care arranged, Ms Flowers made the trip down from Katanning on Tuesday, September 17 to witness the unveiling of the fitting honour. She died the following day.
As the community mourns its loss and celebrates her life, two of her closest confidants paid tribute to a local leader who made a lasting impact.
Ms Flowers’ daughter Kerry Smith said her mother was a fearless leader who always kept an eye on the big picture, and stayed devoted to her Christian faith right until the end.
She was motivated by improving the wellbeing of youth in the Great Southern.
“She was so happy that she had made it, for that very special day,” Ms Smith said.
“She is going to be a big miss, not just for the family but for the whole community and many other communities.
“(She) always thought about others, always thought about the needs of others, always thought about other people and always put herself last.”
Ms Smith said her mother was a trailblazer, who broke down barriers between indigenous and non-indigenous community members in Tambellup.
“I remember mum was the first Aboriginal in Tambellup to go and join the tennis club,” she said.
“She just rocked up one day with her racquet and water bottle, bringing her skills to club and after she started that’s when a few others joined.”
As a representative of the Tambellup Aboriginal Progress Association, in 2007 Ms Flowers chose the building on the corner of Garrity Street and Tambellup West Road for Relationships Australia to call home in Tambellup.
Relationships Australia senior manager of Aboriginal services Angela Ryder said Ms Flowers’ work extended far beyond her official capacity as an Aboriginal resource worker with the organisation, which she joined in November 2007.
“She did some really amazing work in building the capacity of the community,” Ms Ryder said.
Not only did Ms Flowers establish programs for children in the community, including breakfast clubs and youth camps, but her “strength” also attracted wider reaching services to the region including Aboriginal mental health, first aid and family violence prevention programs, according to Ms Ryder.
“She was a strong rock, she kept everyone grounded ... her enormous strength and capacity to love will be terribly missed,” Ms Ryder said.
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