A Life of Service
Were you fortunate to have a first or second grade teacher who was loving, gentle and comforting? To spend only a few minutes with Flo Seward would convince you that she was such a teacher. Flo taught second grade at Knight Road Elementary for thirty years.
Flo Seward was born in Collierville in 1927 to a family of five daughters. Flo was the middle child and when the fourth daughter was born, she was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Buntyn Station. Although this was a temporary arrangement, Flo believes that the influence of her aunt, her experiences and exposures during this time shaped her values for service.
After graduating from high school in Collierville at age 16, Flo chose to attend Montreat Junior College in North Carolina. The missionary teachers there influenced her greatly in her future service to God and others.
After graduation, Flo moved back to Mem- phis, married her high school sweetheart and started her family, eventually having three girls and two boys. Originally work- ing as a secretary in the Sterick Building, Flo realized after her children came, the important role of a teacher. She returned to school at Memphis State University, eventually earning two Masters Degrees in Education.
After 32 years of marriage, Flo and her husband divorced. Her five children had all left home. Feeling the “empty nest syndrome”, Flo contacted the Department of Human Services and became a foster mother of nine little girls over a four year period. A testa- ment to her influence in their lives was apparent when some re- mained in contact. In fact, the first foster child invited Flo to her wedding and insisted that she be in the wedding picture as “my first mother”.
Flo joined the Collierville Methodist Church at age ten and as an adult devoted many hours to teaching Bible classes and singing in the choir. After moving her family to Memphis, she became active in Christ United Methodist Church. Her church involvement there resulted in Flo starting the night circle for working women, a choir for seniors and becoming the tour director for senior excursions. She continues today to work with Diamond Tours in arranging fantastic and inexpensive tours for senior groups.
Perhaps one of the most fulfilling activities for Flo was to become a member of Friendship Force, an organization started by former President Jimmy Carter. The goal of this organization is to build a bridge of peace with foreign countries. Involvement mens living in their homes for several days. This has resulted in Flo traveling to many countries and learning that there are universal feelings and wants for every parent, no matter the country. She has made many lifetime friends and admits that it helped to erase prejudices she formerly held.
A life of service continues for Flo. On Monday, she volunteers at Methodist Germantown Hospital, on Thursday she sings with the First Generation Choir at CUMC. On Friday she tutors two children in reading through a program called Teen Read, sponsored by Germantown Methodist Church.
Before moving to Kirby Pines, Flo was active in the McWherter Senior Citizen Center. During that time, Flo won the Mid-South Talent Contest for singing and was the winner of the city and state Olympic contests. Her trophies are on display at McWherter Senior Center.
We could not leave Flo’s life story without mentioning that she now has seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. These children are her greatest delight.
With all of her talent and experiences, Flow Seward is a valuable and contributing member of the Kirby Pines family. For inspiration, get to know her. At 90 years of age, Flo is still “Flo-ing”.