Being with kids was the joy of her life. Florence Buchholz simply loved kids and youths, and they loved her in return. It was two boys in her Sunday school class who gave Florence Buchholz the nickname “Flo-flo;” from then on all the other kids called her that. The youths of the church also gave her a nickname – “Aunt Florence.”
Florence had two older brothers William and Frank. She recalls that although her family did not have much when she was growing up, her mother always baked a cake during birthdays of family members.
Her father worked as a butcher at a slaughterhouse. He spent quality time with his family and always took the children to watch performances at Radio City Music Hall and see Macy’s traditional Thanksgiving Parade.
As a young girl Florence played with dolls and played “school” with the girl next door. This girl was Roman Catholic and so the “school” they played was a “Catholic school.” It is not surprising that this girl-neighbor eventually became a Catholic nun, while Florence received an award for 25 years perfect attendance in Sunday school!
Trinity Lutheran Church
Their family had always been a church going Lutheran family and much of her childhood and teen years were centered around Trinity Lutheran Church. In her teens Florence was very active in the Luther League. She recalls how the young people from five or six churches in Queens would get together for fellowship. They attended youth conventions in some of the college campuses in New York. They had “SOS” events (Save Old Sheets) – where the young people gathered old bed sheets and cut them and made bandages out of them for cancer patients in hospitals. They also had church-sponsored dances; they did not need “chaperones” during these events as their fathers and mothers were there and they fit right in with the youth.
At Christmas time the youth group also went caroling, going to church members’ and friends’ homes. She recalls some members would invite the carolers in the house and serve freshly baked cookies.
Florence went to high school at Grover Cleveland High. After finishing high school she went to work right away at an accounting staff in an insurance company in Manhattan. There were three or four girls from her high school who worked in the same company. She enjoyed her work and the camaraderie in the organization so much that she stayed in that company for 27 years until her retirement.
Both Brothers POWs
During the Second World War, her two brothers joined the US Army and were sent to Europe. Sadly both of these young men became prisoners of war (POWs) for more than a year. William was captured in France, and Frank was captured in Italy. They were freed however when the war ended.
For her part, Florence and her mother packed foodstuff at the local Red Cross facility (photo) for American prisoners of war in Europe. This was their way of helping her brothers and other POWs and supporting the American war effort.
Over 50 Years of Service
She taught Sunday school (SS) for decades and later became SS superintendent. Florence enjoyed the children’s jokes and their laughter and even shared their “sorrows.” She was involved in this ministry for more than 50 years. Today she is so happy to see some of the SS kids grow up and become mothers and fathers and continue their membership in Trinity. Once in a while someone will come up to Florence on the street and ask her, “Do you remember me?” she would answer, “Sorry, I don’t.” “I was one of your Sunday school pupils at Trinity!” Incidents such as this have brought much joy to Florence.
Florence has lived in the same house where she was born on 66th Road in Middle Village until she had to move to Forest Hills Care Center – where she stays now. She attends and participates in the fellowship events offered at Forest Hills Care Center.
Florence has three nephews (Charles, Tom and Frank) and one niece, Florence). Her nephew Frank comes every weekend from Washington D.C. to look after her affairs while her niece, Florence comes to see her very once in a while.
Her advice to young people today, “Get involved in the church!” And to those who work with the youths, “When properly supervised, young people can put together and manage their own programs, because they know best.” This is Florence, a pillar of Trinity’s Sunday school – an instrument of the Lord who nurtured the seeds of faith in young people’s minds.