Former Purdue All-American Bernie Flowers died suddenly shortly after collapsing at his home in Florida on Thursday evening. He was 81.
Flowers played for Purdue from 1950 to 1952 as an end. He was an All-America team member in 1952. After graduating from Purdue, he played for the Ottawa Roughriders. After two years in the Navy, Flowers joined the Baltimore Colts and played in just one game. His career was cut short due to an injury.
Flowers also assisted in the creation of the Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana for the National Football Foundation.
Former head coach Joe Tiller said he was shocked to hear of Flowers' death and it hasn't fully hit him yet.
"I think the No. 1 thing we'll miss is his bubbling personality, his unwavering commitment to Purdue," Tiller said. "He obviously contributed to Purdue as a student, but his bigger contribution was what he brought after the fact."
He was a retired local insurance agent and has a hamburger named after him at Triple XXX Restaurant, the "Bernie Flowers All-Pro." The burger features Spanish onion, lettuce and mayo.
Flowers was inducted in the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
Born Benjamin Bernard Kwiatkowski, Flowers is survived by his wife, Adele, and five children - all Purdue graduates. Bernie and Adele maintained residences in Lafayette and Bonita Springs, Fla. He was a member of the John Purdue Club for the last 47 years.
Funeral arrangements are pending.