George Flower, defender of Mt. Rubidoux, dies at 91
By Ryan Hagen
George Flower, president of the Friends of Mt. Rubidoux, died Dec. 11 after a short illness. He was 91.
Flower took the lead in defending the mountain for decades, becoming president of the group in 1994 and staying active as Americans United for Separation of Church and State challenged the constitutionality of the cross that stood atop Mount Rubidoux since 1907. The land had been a public park since 1955, when it was donated to the city by the family of Mission Inn founder Frank Miller.
In response, a coalition consisting of Friends of Mt. Rubidoux and two other organizations bought the 0.43-acre parcel that the flag occupied.That led Americans United to withdraw their complaint and the cross to remain.
He was also responsible for the waste bags, restored plaques and re-planted vegetation on the mountain, said Kathy Schulz, a Friends board member.
“If something needed doing, he would do it, but he wouldn’t talk about it,” Schulz said. “For instance, he would jog up Mt. Rubidoux every day and see the trash and neglect and he would pick up the trash. At Evergreen Cemetery, he and Clarise would go fill up buckets and spend two or three hours every weekend watering. He did that for years.”
Flower’s wife, Clarise, died in December 2013.
Flower was born in Orlando, Florida, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War, and moved to Riverside in the early 1960s, said his niece, Patty Buchanan.
A celebration of life is scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 21 at the American Legion at 2979 Dexter Drive, Riverside.