Tucson businessman and philanthropist Ken Flower died Saturday. He was 61.
Flower, owner of Arizona Party Rental, was on a retreat with friends at Lake Tahoe over the weekend when he had a heart attack. He was transported to a hospital in California where he was pronounced dead, his wife Jeanne Flower said Monday.
Flower was on the board of directors of Commerce Bank of Arizona, a member of the Rotary Club of Tucson and a member of The Centurions, a local organization comprised of business leaders who donate to local charities. He also offered discounted event services and equipment to many local events including the Arizona Bowl, Tucson Sugar Skulls events and the Tucson Festival of Books, of which he was a founding partner.
Ken and Jeanne Flower met in 2015 through their work at Commerce Bank of Arizona. A few years of friendship turned into a relationship and they were married in December.
She said the short time she was married to Flower was the best seven months of her life.
“If two people could be meant for each other, that was him and I. We just fit so well, we had so much fun together,” Jeanne said. “He was literally who I was created to love.”
The couple enjoyed simple moments together, she said, like playing in the pool, walking the dogs, shopping for furniture and attending local events. Flower also enjoyed biking along Old Spanish Trail, golfing and playing tennis.
Flower had the spirit of a child and loved his three dogs — Summer, Tanner and Ellie. If he saw children while they were out, he would perform magic tricks to make them smile, Jeanne said. At parties, he gravitated toward young adults.
Jeanne said she will miss Flower’s sense of humor and lightheartedness. Everything he did he saw as an opportunity to express his love, she said.
Those who knew him say Flower was the life of any party and that he created meaningful relationships with everyone he met.
“His success was truly built on the relationships with people that he had all over Tucson,” said Bob Logan, president of the Rotary Club of Tucson. “He just was an amazing business person but at the same time he was just an amazing person, which is actually more important.”
Logan, who knew Flower for more than 15 years, said some of the growth of local events was possible because Flower was always at the table helping make events better.
“There is nobody (who) loved Tucson more than he did,” Logan said.
Melanie Morgan, executive director of the Tucson Festival of Books, said Flower had a big impact on the festival’s growth in its 11 years.
Flower was not just one of the first vendors, he was also a big contributor to the festival, Morgan said. He volunteered on the festival’s sponsorship committee and always encouraged his business contacts to support the festival, which a lot of them did, she said.
“He was really just a decent person and wanted to make the community a better place,” Morgan said. “It was important to him.”
Flower is survived by his wife; his son, Billy Flower, 26, an accountant at a tech firm in Phoenix; his daughter Lauren Flower, 24, a ballerina at Boston Ballet, his stepdaughter, Janae Windle, 20, a student at NAU, and his stepson Andrew Johns, 23, a student at ASU.