“Flo’s Kitchen”: A Mother’s Day Tribute


Inspiring. Nurturing. A guiding force.

Our mother figures are some of the most influential forces in our lives from an early age. They aid in our development, help us learn right from wrong and provide unconditional love.

So, when members of Lambda Chi embark on their next phase of life in the university space, a hole can often be felt where that motherly love is missing.

Some chapters are lucky, however, in finding a mother figure who can serve as both a role model and sounding board for the young men. One such chapter was the Epsilon-Sigma chapter of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA).

From 1965 to 1985, the chapter was fortunate to have not only a wonderful cook but a de facto house mother in Florida “Flo” Taylor Ward.  From stopping two times a week to make sure the chapter members had fresh produce to lending an ear whenever needed, Ward has certainly left her mark on Epsilon-Sigma chapter history.

After accepting the cook position, Flo got to work in ensuring the men of the chapter always had three meals a day, often putting her spin on dishes based on her Memphis roots. In this way, chapter members began to try foods outside of their comfort zone and experience different cultures than what they were used to.

But more so than the food she provided, Flo became a confidant for the men and always made time for conversations with them with an open heart.

“She was very insightful about a lot of things and was kind of a therapist in essence for a lot of guys and acted as a good sounding board,” recalled Tom Larson, a member during Flo’s tenure.

The chapter members loved Flo, and she loved them.

Over the course of her 20-year career, Flo consistently received “Best Cook” throughout Greek Life and continued to help shape the lives of the Brothers, also known as “Flo’s boys”.

When Flo eventually left her job as a cook and moved into a retirement community, she never lost touch with her boys. The men continued sending her countless notes, flowers, and other gifts, along with regular visits.

But the largest way the chapter members have demonstrated their endless love and support for Flo was by raising over $40,000 to help her with living expenses.

The kitchen at the Epsilon-Sigma house was dedicated in her honor as “Flo’s Kitchen” and so her memory will live on. Chapter Brothers for years to come will gather in her kitchen to share in the camaraderie, humor, and love which Flo embodied, just as she always intended.