Rev. Thomas FLOWER
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FLOWER, Rev. Thomas Father Thomas A. Flower, pastor of St. Bernard's Catholic Parish in Tariffville, CT, died peacefully on Wednesday, (July 14, 2010). The cause of death – as he would say – was "shortness of breath". Thomas Flower was born in Hartford on January 12, 1938, the son of Andrew and Mary (Quinlan) Flower, now both deceased. He attended public schools in Hartford beginning with Moylan-Wilson (McDonough) Elementary Schools and finishing at Bulkeley High School. He played several sports and was very active in his parish CYO. At the beginning of his senior year in high school he was elected president of St. Lawrence O'Toole's CYO. This was followed up by his election to the presidency of the Hartford Deanery CYP Council and finally he was elected president of the Catholic Youth Organization Council of the entire Archdiocese of Hartford. It was through these leadership roles in the Church that young Tom began to think about the Catholic priesthood. Thus it happened that in September of 1956, Tom Flower went off to St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield to "give it a try" and to see "what God has to say." After three years of study at St. Thomas, Tom was appointed to Christ the King Major Seminary at St. Bonaventure, NY. During his last year of studies he was appointed a Prefect of Discipline as a Deacon back at St. Thomas Seminary. On May 27, 1965, Thomas A. Flower was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien D.D., and offered his first public Mass on Sunday, May 30, in his home church of St. Lawrence O'Toole in Hartford. After a short summer assignment in '65, at Sacred Heart in Southbury, Father Flower was assigned as an assistant at St. Christopher in East Hartford to study and work for two years in the Father Henry J. Murphy "school of hard knocks." This was followed by a seven year assignment as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Plainville. It was during these years that Father Flower was able to get back into his involvement in the CYO. Under his priestly guidance his parish group grew to over 300 young people. In 1968 Father was appointed to a six-year term as the Bristol Deanery CYO Director. In 1974 Father Flower applied and was appointed to the position as Catholic Chaplain at Yale-New Haven Hospital joining a team of two other priests – a position he remained in for 13 years. During these years he was additionally appointed to serve as the Coordinator of Catholic Chaplains for the Archdiocese of Hartford for a double term totaling six years. In 1987, Father realized the fact that his first love was as a parish priest and it was time to return to that beloved role. Thus he accepted the position as Assistant Pastor at St. Margaret's Church in Madison. In May of 1989 Father Flower was appointed the pastor at St. Bernard's Parish in Tariffville. He would often say that for him it was a "dream come true." Father joyfully served there for 21 years. Father Flower was very proud to be the chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Bishop Nilan Council of greater Simsbury for over 20 years. He also enjoyed his membership in the Elks Club for a quarter of a century. Besides his beloved parishioners, Father Flower leaves his special sister Janet F. Martin of Ludlow, MA, his nieces and nephews and their beautiful spouses; Bob Martin and his wife Brenda, Ken Martin and his wife Donna, Kevin Martin, Gary Martin and his wife Susan, Joan and her husband Steve Haney, Laurie and her husband Chris Smith, and 13 amazing great nieces and nephews and a great great niece and nephew, and family friend Ken Carrignant. He was predeceased by his favorite brother-in-law, Roger Martin. His family will receive friends TODAY, Sunday, July 18, from 4-7 p.m. at St. Bernard's Church, 7 Maple St., Tariffville followed by a Parish Mass at 7:30 p.m. "A Funeral Mass of the Resurrection of our Lord" will be held on Monday, July 19, at 10:30 a.m. with Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford, as the principal celebrant. Burial will be in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery, Cottage Grove Rd., Bloomfield. Carmon Funeral Homes in Granby and Windsor is assisting the family and St. Bernard's Parish with funeral arrangements. Memorial donations may be made to Rev. Thomas A. Flower Memorial Fund, care of St. Bernard Church, 7 Maple St., Tariffville, CT 06081. For online condolences please visit

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Published in Hartford Courant from Jul. 15 to Jul. 18, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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46 entries
August 14, 2010
Father Flower brought my late brother Christopher great comfort when he was at Yale New Haven Hospital. He accomplished great, humanitarian work with my mother Patricia at the Plainville Council of Churches and spoke at her funeral. My sister Becky and I send our condolences.
Jenifer Augur
July 30, 2010
I was so surprised and saddened to hear of Father Flower's passing. As a former parishioner (3 generations) he presided over many joyous and sad events - family weddings, funerals and baptisms. He lost is felt at great distances to those lives he touched. God Bless him and his family...Kathleen Rose (formerly of East Granby)
Kathleen Rose
July 25, 2010
My sincere sympathy to the family of Fr. Tom Flower. I'm so saddened to hear of his passing. He will be greatly missed at our reunions of the Bulkeley High School class of 1956. Tom was one of my favorite people.
Mary (Baio) McCuin
July 22, 2010
I was saddened to hear of the death of Father Tom. He was a classmage at Christ the King Seminary. More people should have the jovial disposition he had. He was always smiling and joking. If the world today saw things as Fr Tom did it would be a better world to live in.
Rest in peace dear friend
Wayne Doherty
July 22, 2010
Father Tom was like an uncle to me throughout my entire childhood - I remember the "Lester" family picnics at my homes in Deep River, and he was always there and a central part of all the action - all such fond memories! I still laugh at the banter between Father Tom and my grandfather! Father Tom married my husband and me 30 years ago, and it was so special to have him there joining us - and he did a good job because we are still married! :-) he was also there for other family weddings and funerals - he will be so missed. I had not seen much of him for quite a while until last year at my Aunt Lois' funeral - but he is one of those people that does not have to be physically present to still be a part of your life. I will miss you Father Tom...Love, Carol Barry Phelps
Carol Phelps
July 21, 2010
From altar boys at St Lawrence O'Toole's to CYO to Bulkeley High School....all are fond memories of many years of friendship with Tom. The basketball, the variety shows, the parties...all great times we shared together with our many friends. When Fr Tom was delivering for Viking Bakery, he probably ate more donuts than he delivered! After high school we went our separate ways but always renewed our friendship and shared stories at our high school reunions. Tom was a special friend and I'm sure a very special priest to those he served over the years. I'm sure he has touched the lives of many wonderful people. We will certainly miss you Tom at our next reunion. Surely the Lord has a special place for you. Rest in peace good friend.
Peter Terragna, Punta Gorda, Florida
July 20, 2010
With Deepest Sympathy. I live on Maple Street and Father Flower always had something nice to say. He always talked to my son and I about some wonderful things when we went for our walk. May God bless
Maryann E
July 19, 2010
I have many fond memories of Father Flower (and Father Lanouette.) Growing up in Plainville and attending Our Lady of Mercy Parish and School...there were some tough times back then...just growing up. They were always there with a hug, smile, sincere conversation, unconditional love. I remember them riding around on their motorcycles and they would always wave or pull over to visit with you. Their conversations were always clear, and honest and down-to-earth.
I have missed them over the years, living out of state...but have never, ever forgotten them. Never will.

Lisa Mullennix, Florida
July 19, 2010
Our condolences to Father Flowers family and friends. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Beaudoins
July 18, 2010
Father Tom was a classmate of mine at Bulkeley High in Hartford, Class of 56. We both played basketball for Lou Bazzano and had a great time.
Tom was present at our marriage in Torrington in 1967.
His wit will be missed.
Chad/Sophia DeBonis, Foxfire Village, NC
July 18, 2010
Fr. Flower was an excellent Chaplin and a wonderful priest. He was always ready with a clever response that was always exactly what you needed at that particular moment. He was charitable; offering to help his Brother Knights in any way possible. We will miss him greatly.
July 18, 2010
janice and robert gauvin of plainville ct send theier condolences to thre family we remember him from our lady of mercy church in plainville we will miss him and love him
July 18, 2010
It was a very sad day when I heard of Father Flower's passing. He greeted me with open arms the first day I attended his service at St. Bernard's Church and was always such an inspiration. I feel very blessed to have known him and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Joan Vincent
July 18, 2010
Father Flower was such a good friend to me and my family after the loss of my brother, Father Ernie Lanouette. He was a comfort to us during that very sad time in my life. I'm sure he and Ernie are reminiscing about old times in Heaven now. God Bless them both. After reading these comments, his kindness and sense of humor touched many lives. He was a devoted priest and made it a point to get to know everyone. He had many FRIENDS! I will keep Fr. Flower and Ernie in my prayers.
Helen Sage (Lanouette)
July 18, 2010
Please accept our sincere condolences for Father Tom's family. He was a wonderful priest and exceptional man who helped the Choiniere family in Plainvile through the good and the bad.
We are very sorry, Barbara(Choiniere) & Ernest Zike
Ernie Zike
July 17, 2010
My life is also one touched by Father Flower. He was there during poignant times....often sacred ones.... offering an encouraging word, a spiritual perspective, kindness, humor and honesty. I am sad to not have him in this world... but know his spirit and goodness carry on with each life he has blessed.

Cape Elizabeth, ME

July 17, 2010
To Janet and family I shared many happy times on Hillside Ave with Tom and family including Mr Quinlan back then we would'nt think of calling him Tom. I spent many good times running around Tommy and the gang. I was always struck by his giving nature, such as the way he was always there for the Bent family whenever they needed help or the night we were coming back from the beach at 1:00 in the morning and we stopped to help an elderly woman out of a second floor window with the house on fire. Yes that actually happened!Tom baptzed our son in 1964 while a deacon.I will always remember what a fun guy he was.Our prayers are with Tommy,You and Your family. Jimmy Morrin Green Hill Beach RI
July 17, 2010
My first memory of Father Flower was at my Uncle Ernie Lanouette's Funeral 41 years ago. I was 8 yrs. old, me and my sister were sitting on his lap at the Celebration of Uncle Ernie's Life Party after the funeral. Father Flower was smoking a cigar and singing songs. Uncle Ernie died of a heart attack at 45 yrs. old. I know Fr. Tom lost a dear friend that day. I felt like Father Flower was forever a connection to Uncle Ernie for me. It is wonderful reading about all the lives Fr. Tom has touched. I'm sure he is now up in heaven with Uncle Ernie. Rest in Peace Father Flower and give Uncle Ernie a big hug for me.
Terri Kelly
July 17, 2010
This is a VERY SAD day. Fr. Flower has been a BIG part of our Family. When my Uncle Ernie (Lanouette) passed away from a Heart Attack Fr. Flower became a Brother figure for my Mom and her Sisters. He was so much FUN to have at parties. He will be missed and I can see him up in Heaven Dancing with my Uncle :)
Donna Bender
July 17, 2010
To Father Flower's Family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.
The Bulkeley High School Class of 1956 Reunion Committee
July 16, 2010
To All of Fr. Flower's Loved One's
I came to know Fr. Tom when he served us at Our Lady of Mercy, I taught C.Y.O. and had respect and admiration for him. He did several House Masses at my home and all who knew him loved him. Although I haven't seen him in many years, I will never forget what a gentle Soul he was and what a wonderful friend he was to me. May you rest in peace Fr. Tom
Loretta Beltrame-Tellier
July 16, 2010
As our BELOVED priests have crossed (pun ??) our paths over the years, I've often wondered what became of this one or that one. I'll always remember Fr. Flower standing at the altar, with his hands outstretched, ready to begin his homily, almost ALWAYS beginning simply with, "Friends, ..." and he spoke the truth; he TRULY was a friend to many. Growing up in the Parish of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Plainville set the foundation for what would one day become for me a much richer faith in God, a deeper devotion to His Divine Mercy and Our Most Blessed Mother Mary, and a GREATER desire to become a better person, husband, and father...all for the Glory of God. This was due in no small part to the hard work of Father Flower and others during those most critical younger years.
After losing my own father, Adrian, in recent years, I can only say that once again a similar heartache is being felt, over the loss of a loving protector & provider, coach & confidant (in this case, of the many souls of 'spiritual children'). We must pray for ALL our priests: present, past and especially, future !!! Without our holy priests, we would have no SACRAMENTS...without our Sacraments, what would we have....??
God + Bless Father Flower & his family Forever !!!
John C. Wishart
July 16, 2010
Our deepest sympany to the family of Rev. Tom. Tom and I were classmates at Bulkeley High School, Class of 1956. I was saddened to read of his passing in the paper. He led quite a life!
Thomas DeMaio
July 16, 2010
We loved Uncle Tom dearly. He had a wonderful sense of humor & always gave the campfire energy when he started playing his guitar. He will be missed.
The Lester Family
July 16, 2010
Another family from Tom's early days in Hartford-St. Lawrence O'Toole. Deepest sympathy and prayers to a wondeful "boy", friend, and priest. Norma, Bill, and Linda Sautner-Catherine Street, Hartford.
July 16, 2010
Father Flower was a very good person. I can't think of one flaw in him. He was loving, kind, caring, and much more. He always knew ow to make people laugh, and made church fun. He was a great priest to St. Bernard's and he cared for everybody. I pray to God that he will rest peacefully in Heaven. He deserves it. He will be greatly missed at church. He was one of the best Priest's and always will be. We will always miss him. Long live his memory.
July 16, 2010
Dear Janet,
I was saddened when I read on-line of Tom's passing. You may not remember me, but we were neighbors on Ledger St. when we were children. I am the only surviving Bender. Mom & Dad died in the late 80's, Bob in '99 and Phyliis in '07.
I am so sorry for your loss and send you my prayers and deepest sympathy.
Nancy Bender
Scottsdale, AZ
July 16, 2010
Father Flowers visited me once when I was a patient at Yale University hospital. I will NEVER forget it.
July 16, 2010
To the Family and many people who were touched by this fun loving person - I too remember Rev. Flower when I was a young teenager at Our Lady of Mercy. He was so supportive of the youth of this parish when Rev. Lanouette passed away from cancer. I will forever remember his joie de vivre and smiling face. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, And let perpetual light shine upon him. Peace.
Joan Albert
July 16, 2010
May God bless and comfort the family and friends of Father Flower during this sad time.

Father, thank you for all you have done. Rest in peace.
July 16, 2010
My most vivid memory of Fr. Flower is of the time(s) he would have to corral my brother John, my sister Cathy, and I after church services at Our Lady of Mercy. We were quite young, and quite rambunctious, but he was able to 'gather his flock' and carry us safely back to our parents: one on each arm and one getting a piggy back ride.
I am so sorry to hear of his passing.
Every time I think of him, I'll smile.
Christine Testa
July 15, 2010
Father Flower was a very important part of our lives. I can't thank him enough for making such a difference in our lives. Our family will miss him but we are glad he is resting now in a wonderful place!
Michele, Steve, Mason and Ryan Holt
July 15, 2010
Father Flower brought much comfort to our sister, Cindy Weaver, when she was at Yale-New Haven dying of cancer at the age of 25. Her face light up every time Father Flower came into her room. We appreciated the many, many visits he made to her.
Cheryl Ward
July 15, 2010
To Janet and all of Fr. Flower's family,
We have known Fr. Flower for about 40 years- first at Our Lady of Mercy and then at St. B.s We have ALWAYS admired and appreciated his honesty and sense of humor. There have been SO many memories- mostly wonderful- not TOO many when we did not agree. However, through it all we KNOW how much he cared and how supportive he was. I am most appreciative of his support of the music ministry at St. Bernard's. I KNOW that he is now singing in the choir of angels. I hope that they are ready for "Blue Christmas" and "In Your Easter Bonnet"!!!
Lorie and Mike Orzechowski
July 15, 2010
Father Tom was a classmate of mine at Bulkeley HS in Hartford. He was also a respected priest for many years, although I was never a parishioner in any parish he led. He was attentive to all people and often attended our reunions, giving appropriate and at times funny "benedictions" as we prepared to eat together. He will be missed by all. John Donovan
John Donovan
July 15, 2010
My Deepest Condolences to Father Flowers Family!
He was always so nice to me and my Family! He will be remebered and never forgoten! My Payers go out to The Flower Family! I am so sorry for your loss! I will always remeber him.

Love Always Laura Kerrigan
Laura Kerrigan
July 15, 2010
I am so sorry to hear of Fr. Tom's passing. In fact I can't remember a time where he wasn't a member of the Coughlin family, a frequent and much appreciated member. As my sister Heidi said, he was there in the really good times and the not so good times and always making sense of things during difficult times. My most vivid memory was at our Dad's funeral. Tommy (he told me i could call him that on my 30th birthday) gave the most beautiful eulogy that allowed those who never knew our Dad in life, certainly felt like they did afterwards. As he was walking off the altar, he began to whistle the theme song to the movie, The High and the Mighty. You could hear the intake of air from all of us that knew what that meant to us and would have meant to Dad. He just knew how to do it right. I fully expect that Tommy will be getting together with May and Roger, Mom and Dad and will soon be rounding folks up for a cribbage tournament. My condolences to the entire family.
Kim Coughlin Phillips
July 15, 2010
Father Flower was very good to me, kind and supportive during the most difficult times in my life. He has been our parish priest since before our youngest child was born and she went off to college last year. He often spoke of the promise of eternal life and I know he is realizing that promise now. Rest in peace, Father.
July 15, 2010
St. Bernard's Church has lost a great leader. Father Flower married us
and baptized both our children. He will always be remembered in our hearts. ~ The Hoeckele Family (Granby, CT)
July 15, 2010
With deep sadness we extend our sympathies to you the family of Father Flower. We shared many wonderful memories thru the years : From Jr. High, Dancing School, Hammonasett Beach, and finally here in FL, at our home. We laughed, cried and always remembered the wonderful times we shared together. We have lost a Wonderful, loving and thoughtful dear friend. Memories will now be our Link between Heaven and Earth. The Ernest Dubiel Family Safety Harbor, FL
July 15, 2010
My sympathies to Fr. Flower's family, friends, and many parishioners. When I was a teenager in Plainville, he had a great influence on my life. We rode motorcycles together, along with Fr. Lanouette, who always kidded him about "looking like a trained circus bear" wehn he rode his little 50cc Honda.
He was there for our family through sicknesses, deaths, and happy times.
He was a great man, a good friend, the epitome of what a priest should be, and truly God's representative here on earth.
Rest in peace, Fr. Tom Flower.
David Bordeau
July 15, 2010
My deepest condolences to the family & friends of Rev. Tom Flower. As a boy growing up in Hartford in the 1950's; I remember Tom as the Viking Bakery delivery man. Tom always had time for a good story and a laugh. He was one of those memorable people you meet in life and never forget!
Bob Ewing
July 15, 2010
Words cannot even begin to express our sorrow.

Peace, prayers and blessings.
~The Roderick family
July 15, 2010
Fr Tom will be sadly missed. I have many happy memories of Fr Tom spending countless evenings with the Coughlin / Deegan clan, singing and playing his guitar and cracking many a joke, as well as many prayerful, powerful, precious home masses that were celebrated. Fr Tom saw us through many good times and not so good, weddings, funerals including his final good bye to my mom, who waited till after he left on a trip to let go... precious, precious moments. My thoughts and prayers extend to you his family. My personal comfort is that my mother and father (Helen & Bob Coughlin) have long awaited Fr Tom (Tommy) coming home to heaven. I can only imagine the party they are having now! May it help to know you will be in my thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. May your memories bring you comfort as mine bring me. Heidi-Anne Coughlin ( Maple St )
Heidi-Anne Coughlin
July 15, 2010
My deepest condolences to Father Flower's entire family and friends and colleagues. He was a great leader for us as altar boys and during our time at Our Lady of Mercy Junior High School. We spent many hours after school and on Saturdays playing basketball with him. I ran into him again in 1985 when I was doing my Fellowship at Yale at the Yale-New Haven Hospital.
May God bless him and accept him into the room he has prepared for him, may God also bless his family for all his years of faithful service.
William Petit Jr MD
July 15, 2010
Tommy:Where has the time gone since our CYO days? Throughout your life you were truly a Man for All Seasons. Look graciously, we beseech Thee, O Lord,upon the soul of Thy beloved son, Rev Thomas Flower.
Jack O'Neill
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