Chef Vincent A. Flowers & Pinemere Camp

A few weeks ago I received the following comment on Roots of a Hidden Legacy:

Not a descendent of the Flowers family, but went to Pinemere camp in Stroudsburg, PA in the 1970’s for 8 years. Vincent Flowers was the head chef at camp, and was the most beloved person at Pinemere. I remember we used to have a “counselor hunt”, where the counselors would hide and the campers would have to find them. Different counselors were worth different amounts of points, with the more “important” counselors worth more points. Vincenet was always worth the most points out of anyone, including the Director of the camp. He was a wonderful man, and everyone knew and loved him at camp.

—Harry H.

Over the years my research largely focused on Rachel Flowers and Geraldine Wilson. But with this recent comment, I will update Vincent’s biography to include his work at Camp Pinemere.

What I know:

  • Vincent Flowers was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1905. He passed away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2001.
  • He attended Messiah Academy between 1923 to 1927 with plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania. I contacted the university back in 2014 and they had no record of his attendance.
  • He was a musician and a cook.
  • Vincent was drafted into the Second World War; he was a chef stationed in the South Pacific for three years.
  • While at a diner in Stroudsburg, a waitress denied Vincent service because of his race. Vincent pursued charges against the establishment.
Vincent Flowers, circa 1926 | Messiah University Archive

From university records to newspaper archives, I had difficulty finding more information about Vincent. When I was contacted by Harry, he shared that on the Camp Pinemere’s alumni Facebook group many people shared their memories of Chef Vince, as they called him. There memories are endless. Currently in the process of collecting these memories to update Roots of Hidden Legacy to speak to his years at Pinemere Camp.

A few of the memories:

  • “One of my favorites is when the piano was still in the mess hall I would love to sit and listen to him play.”
  • “When we had watermelon for dessert, Vince would stand in the window between the kitchen and dining room with his Chef’s knife swinging high and fast to cut the pieces while we chanted, ” Go Vince Go.”
  • “I remember going in a Friday hike and picking loads of blueberries, which we carried back to camp loaded in the front of our t-shirts. Took them to the mess hall and gave them to Vince, who turned them into a blueberry pie. Probably the best darn pie I’ve ever had, partly just because it was so special. And of course, cheering and banging on our tables after Friday night dinners loud and long enough that he would finally come out and wave and smile. Fine, fine superfine, my friend, my friend “


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