What a shock to read this… Such an inspiration… RIP Dr. Flowers, and most sincere condolences to his family. This is a tragic loss.
Woodie was perhaps the most genuine person I have ever met. I cannot think of someone who embodied everything they spoke about so earnestly and genuinely. Truly a remarkable human being who made the world, and all of us, better. Woodie spoke about standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before us. I cannot imagine a world in which I was not able to stand up Woodie’s shoulders. The world is a little less brilliant today than it was before.
I met him a few years after the First <-> VEX split. We talked about how I was still growing the VEX program. He was pleased that the smaller robots was a growing program. The energy that came from him was amazing.
The world will miss him.
Woodie Flowers is what I want to be when I grow up. Millions share that ambition with me. Most of us won’t get there but that’s not the important thing.
Rest, Dr. Flowers. You left us richer.
I shared on the blog, but I will also share it here.
One time in Atlanta I was speaking with Susan Lawrence, who was Woodie’s “handler” for lack of a better term at Worlds. She would help him get to places when he needed to be there.
When Woodie was done speaking with someone else, he came over to us. I told him that he’d met our team the day before, and Devin said he was never going to wash the hand that shook Woodie’s hand. Woodie got a truly incredulous look on his face, and said something about not knowing why the kids revered him that way. It’s because of the man that he was, totally genuine, humble despite all his successes and achievements. He will be sorely missed by his family, the FIRST community, and the world.
Rest in Peace Woodie. I wish I could have gotten that chance to meet you. I still walk by your brick at Louisisana Tech University on a regular basis.
I feel as though this is the saddest thing to ever happen in FIRST.
The 2020 rookies of FRC will never hear him speak at kickoff or at world champs. They will not see videos of him speaking on gracious professionalism throughout their competitions. They will not remember his voice when they think of the ethical way to compete.
They will however feel his legacy in the ethos of FIRST. The community is forever inspired by his words and wisdom, and will continue to carry on his teachings long past today.
You will be missed.
This morning I lost my friend, mentor, and hero, Woodie Flowers. He passed away this morning from a complex of medical issues.
I have a range of emotional reactions to this. I am sad. I am going to miss his wit, his incredible intellect, and his amazing charm. Our conversations over the years were always thoughtful and driven by a common set of ideals. His sense of humor, not often seen in public, was wonderful. His passion for art, woodworking, photography, and travel were inspiring.
Today I also celebrate his life. He was my mentor. From him I learned so much. From him my FIRST community learned so much. He was OUR mentor. He was OUR hero. He was always a champion of humanity. A conversation about FIRST would always end up about the empathy of our culture, about the growth of our students, and about the graciousness of our community.
It is now up to our community to preserve the legacy of Woodie Flowers. Let us not ever lose sight of the respect for humanity, empathy for others, and the struggle for reason that embodies Gracious Professionalism.
I just want to say that as someone who first admired Woodie from afar as a FIRST alumnus, and got to work with him closely for the last 10 years at MIT, that he was even better in person than he was at a distance. He really was everything he seemed to be – if not more.
God, I’m so, so sad.
Like so many people, I have lost a good friend and mentor. I am trying to absorb the impact of this loss and I am struggling with my words. I deeply appreciate the friendship, the conversations, and the journey we have taken together during the past 13+ years.
As I was thinking about this I remembered an interview I did with him in 2010 in Atlanta. For those of you that want to learn more about Woodie and his life growing up, you can see the interview with ‘Scooter’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfeQm7auP0U
I’m not sure if this is the time or place to introduce this video but this is a struggle for me to find the right words. I do hope viewers will have a chance to learn a little more about this great man
When we shot these we didn’t realize we were shooting Woodie’s last World Championship. Here’s Woody on Einstein field doing what he did best: inspiring students. The world will miss the man who embodied the concept of gracious professionalism.
I am saddened by this news. He has been super inspirational towards my family. He even sent healing thoughts when my dad who is a volunteer at events was having open heart surgery and even went out of his way to sign the volunteer book saying he was thinking about my dad. Well my thoughts are with his family.
I had the honour to meet Woodie on several occasions and he was just as nice as all the others have stated.
It will not be the same without Woodie.
The world is already not the same because of what Woodie has done.
The best way to honour Woodie and his work would be to continue his work.
I remember watching https://youtu.be/e9ijA4UBCQ0 on PBS when I was in high school. Some clips of Professor Woodie included.
A true hero.
Let’s all honor him by committing ourselves to acting graciously and professionally each and every day.
Rest in peace Woodie.
Rest in Peace Professor Flowers. Thank you for the guiding example you have provided throughout your life.
I had the pleasure of meeting Woodie Flowers a couple of times over the past few years as an FRC student. The most recent time was immediately after our Einstein loss this past season. Woodie Flowers was the first person to come and shake our hands and congratulate us on our season. Truly a class act. RIP
I know it’s not much compared to the rest of his monumental work, but I like how he came to Worlds like it was a black-tie event each year. Probably one way he showed his respect.
Thank you, Woodie, for your inspiration and gracious professionalism. FIRST and the world has lost one of the greatest souls today and neither will ever be the same.
Though I never got the opportunity to meet him, Dr. Woodie Flowers changed my life for good.
I was once a kid without a direction in life until I joined FIRST halfway across the world. I’m now an engineering student and am trying to change the culture like how Woodie dedicated himself.
Woodie taught me to always remember why I’m doing this. You have left a legacy in all of us and we’ll do our best to pass it forward. Thank you for everything, Dr. Flowers.