Langdon Flowers, cornerstone of Flowers Foods, dies

by Eric Schroeder
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THOMASVILLE, GA. — Langdon Strong Flowers, whose integrity and vision helped shape and define Flowers Foods and its predecessor companies, Flowers Baking Co. and Flowers Industries, for 60 years, passed away June 20 in Thomasville. Mr. Flowers was 85.

"Our company has lost a great adviser, our nation one of its finest citizens, and our community its greatest champion," said George E. Deese, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Flowers Foods. "Mr. Flowers always offered appreciation for a job well done and words of encouragement to those he met. He will be greatly missed by all of us at Flowers."

Mr. Flowers began his career with the company in 1947, first working in the sales department, serving in all positions of leadership. He became president and chief operating officer in 1965, a member of the board of directors when the company listed publicly in 1968, vice-chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1976, and chairman of the board of directors in 1981.

Mr. Flowers retired in 1985 but continued to serve as a member of Flowers’ board of directors until 2004 when he was named honorary director.

A 1944 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Flowers enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He completed his college education on the V-12 program. Upon graduation, he attended Midshipman’s School at Notre Dame and received his commission as Ensign. At the war’s end, Mr. Flowers returned to MIT where he received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He then worked for Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif., as part of the aeronautical design team.

During his career, Mr. Flowers served the baking industry in other capacities, including chairman of the board of the Southern Bakers Association, the American Bakers Association, and the American Institute of Baking, as well as a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. Mr. Flowers also was active in politics, serving in a leadership role for President Ronald Reagan’s successful 1984 re-election campaign, as a presidential elector from Georgia, and in leadership roles in other campaigns as well.

Mr. Flowers was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Margaret (Bobbie) Clisby Powell, in 2004. Survivors include 5 children, 17 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

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