Carmen Flottman – KOAM


Carmen Flottman

Our beautiful mom went to dance with the angels on August 30, 2022. What a wonderful life and journey Carmen Didier Davis Germon Flottman “Carmen” had. Anyone she met became a friend and for 101.5 years she lived life to its fullest. She married Arnold Flottman when she was 82 years old. She moved from San Diego to live in Pittsburg Kansas in 2003. For some 18 years they led a happy and productive life. In January 2021, mom moved back to San Diego to be near her daughters – Vicky, Mary Ellen, Babette and their families. This was right after the drive-by celebration of her 100th birthday in Pittsburg with family and friends. All of this at the height of COVID lock downs. She lived for a year with Mary Ellen, her husband Jerry and sons Lance and Wyatt. She was quite a force even at 100 years and would tell Mary Ellen how to rearrange her carpets and pictures. A special treat was always having Mary Ellen do her hair. Grandma was always styled and dressed to the nines. She insisted on a daily outing that was a tradition she and Arnold started. In February 2022, Carmen moved to Ridgeview Assisted Living. They provided mom with much love and care including Emma, Ray, Eric, Rio, Megan and Kathy. She was visited everyday by a family member including her granddaughters Erin Elliott and Genelle Olsen, as well as Babette, Meryl, MaryEllen, Mark, Vicky and grandson Jesse. She loved her hospice helpers Valerie and Elizabeth and Mary Ellen (no relation). Carmen participated in all the games, music and wonderful the outdoor garden areas. We would have Big Band playing for her and the other residents. Carmen contributed a large number of Gnomes to the garden for the “Find the Gnome” game. Meryl would take mom to the live music events each Wednesday and Erin would be there for Friday games. One of the highlights for mom was having Genelle do her nails. Many a wonderful day was spent with her right up to her peaceful passing. When mom moved to San Diego, Arnold moved back to Ohio to live near his daughter Irma, wife Robin and children Emily and Ella. Arnold passed in January 2022 some seven months before Carmen.
There were many good memories of Arnold’s and Carmen’s time in Kansas and the annual trips made for Masonic and American Legion Conferences. Over the years, they hosted and/or visited Arnold’s family. A big event was the annual 4th of July visit including Arnold’s children Irma, Lynn, Skip and John plus their extended families. Mom was surrounded by local family and many a celebration was held with Bert, Linda and Deanne VanLuyck; Carole, Bruce and Jimmy Bowman; Carolyn and Jimmy Didier and their children John Allen, Carla (Didier) and Doug Proctor and their children and grandson Brandon and his family. On a regular basis, Mom’s son Mark was there with wife Connie. Mark, Carmen and Arnold could often be found in one of the casinos right up until her 100th birthday. Everyone that knew Carmen knew she was an ace at Craps, cards, horses and other gambling venues.
She was lucky to have such wonderful relatives that would visit including the “Mossom” girls Karen, Rhonda and Andrea. The Mossom girls were the children of Adrian Mossom, one of my mom’s favorite cousins, and son of Uncle Archie and Aunt Julie. So many good times visiting in Andersen, California when all the kids were young. On holidays and weddings mom would visit Mark and Connie in St. Louis and then Omaha. She also made her regular trips back to San Diego to see family and friends. As time progressed this included fun holidays with grandchildren and great grandchildren, including: Matt and Stacy Davis and children Alex, Ben and Jacob; Katie and Greg Wehmeyer and children Zach, Luke and Claire; Scott and Lindsey Davis (now there is Finn that she met via FaceTime). Mom loved to see Jeff and Jane Davis and their children Jenny, Ethan and twins Beth and Emma from Ireland. These visits were usually by FaceTime. Jeff was lucky to have lived with Carmen and Ed prior to making his journey to Ireland. It was wonderful Jeff could be there to support Grandma when Ed passed in September 2002 at age 74.
Mom was blessed to attend the wedding of each of the grandchildren and nieces that are married, including the wedding of Carla, Matt, Katie and Scott. She was also a big part of graduations and was able to make the trek to see Genelle graduate from UC Berkeley in California. While in Sacramento, Babette arranged for her to play bridge at a senior center. Her favorite story was when “they” invited Grandma to play duplicate. She joined with them thinking a little old lady – easy to beat. There was one gentlemen that this group would not ask. Grandma said she would play with him. They proceeded to win all the games for 3 days in a row. Her comment: “We showed them” and yes she did. She even went to their potluck – “Babette fix something good for me to take.” Starting on this trip Clayton was to become her “betting” buddy – they would bet on her favorite horses and kept a “little” pot of money for these efforts.
Carmen was born January 15, 1921 in Frontenac Kansas. She was very proud of Frontenac and collected historical information on its coal mining originals. Her mother’s Irish upbringing, her father’s French ancestry and the influence of a small rural town played a large part in what Carmen valued in life. Her family tree is full of many colorful characters that lived in the Pittsburg and Frontenac area. This included her mother and father – Florence (Aunt Gay) and John Adrian Didier. It was a big family with grandparents, uncles and cousins often living with the Didier family in a 2 bedroom house. There are many stories of Aunt Gay’s antics and the boot legging business in Crawford County. Carmen would tell how she would go on the rounds with her father. Aunt Dodie lived around the block and was a lifetime, dear friend of mom’s. All have passed many years ago but we have a lifetime full of those family stories.
Carmen was one of six children, with only three making it to adulthood. John Henry and John Adrian died as babies and her sister Julie passed at 16 from a car accident. Her wonderful brother, Jimmy, died a few years ago and provided many of my mom’s favorite stories as a young girl and wonderful times after she moved back to Kansas. It was Carmen’s job to watch Jimmy, being 14 years his senior. What a job that was. He was always escaping, ditching his clothes and heading to the Frontenac High School to seek out an adventure. On one occasion, this included laying up on the ledge of the school until a football player got him down. The last sibling still living, Carole Jean, was mom’s “little” sister. Carmen was 10 years her senior. Their paths crossed often over the years with visits and time spent together. When Aunt Carole was living in New York and Carmen was living with her family in New Jersey – they had regular visits and clam bakes. In later years, mom and Aunt Carole were able to travel with Babette and her husband Meryl and their children Clayton and Genelle to Europe. Mom and Aunt Carole went via the Queen Mary. My mom loved the Queen Mary for its comfort and of course the duplicate bridge and a full casino. For this trip, all were attending Jeff and Jane Davis’ wedding in Ireland. Carmen and Carole continued on to Paris and London with Babette and crew. Mom was 88 at this time. Not one to let moss grow under her feet, Carmen talked Aunt Carole, Babette and Meryl into two more cruises. One on the Queen Mary up the East coast into Canada (2014) and then one to the Caribbean (2017) – she was 93 and 96 respectively.
After moving back to Kansas, mom was always up for an adventure; be it playing cards some 3 times a week, going to a Casino or volunteering at the hospital. You had to call early in the morning to find her at home. Carmen and Doris Naylor were a terror at the duplicate bridge tables, with many a winning session posted in the local paper. She loved to have others over for meals and have regular meals out including at The Red Onion in Joplin. She and Arnold were regulars at the Pittsburg State Gorilla games and the various restaurants. She was a patron of the Pittsburg State library and the Colonial Fox Historic Theater. Along with Jimmy’s wife Carolyn and Carole, they made many a good find at the estates sales. She would buy as fast as she would give the items to others, including her housekeeper and companions Lois Harris and Patty Nichols.
Carmen loved being on the go and exploring. She was to leave Kansas in her early 20s and not return to live there until her 80s. Her first stop was Washington DC. As a federal employee for the State Department, she was to be one of the first women to work for the United Nations. She would take assignments in Brazil and live on the Amazon River with access only by plane or boat. She would move on to take an assignment in the Philippines and help sell off sunken war ships to pay off monies owed the US. She traveled back to the US via a Destroyer carrying American soldiers and a handful of women. The captain had to isolate them from the crew for “safety.” In a normal Carmen fashion these women found their way off the boat into Hong-Kong for a little “sightseeing.” A storm blew in and finding the women missing, the MPs had to go round them all up. We are sure the Captain of that ship was very happy when it docked in the US.
After the war and back in the US, Carmen was again in Washington DC and planning to move to Europe on another assignment. Then she met Victor Stewart Davis “Dave” and all plans were changed. They were married on April 23, 1949 and within a year Mark made them three. Being in the Navy, Dave and Carmen moved many times. After Mark’s birth they moved to Key West Florida and Vicky and Babette made the Davis clan five. Key West was a true adventure in 1953/1954 and mom was happy to leave and move up the coast to Eglin Air Force Base where Mary Ellen was born rounding the Davis clan out to an even six. In a short five years, Carmen and Dave had their family. They family was then off to Toms River, New Jersey and then California. In California, they moved to China Lake in the middle of the Mohave dessert. Carmen sat in their 1954 Chevy with four kids and Dave and cried thinking it was the end of the world. They were to live in a Quonset hut with tumbleweeds for grass until housing for personnel was finished. She came to love these years in China Lake as did the rest of the family. Carmen settled into a new house, had a good job at the hospital and an active life with the CPO club, bowling and playing cards. She and Dave were on bowling teams in China Lake and then San Diego. Carmen was finally settled in San Diego where she remained for the most of the family life. Unfortunately, Dave had become ill and after 2 years in the hospital passed September 1966 at the age of 46. They had been married for 17 years. He is buried in Fort Rosecrans, and when mom moved back to San Diego and living with Mary Ellen, she visited there often – a peaceful place.
Beyond loving an adventure, she was also a very strong person and continued to live in San Diego and raise her four children. While there were some sad years, there were also many happy times spent in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. The family of mom and kids grew with Mark marrying Connie in Pittsburg, Kansas in 1972. Followed with Meryl marrying Babette in 1980. In 1973, Mary Ellen added Erin and Bridget to the family with a marriage to Fred Elliott. Vicky married Roy Bungay in 1991 and remained married until Roy’s passing in May 2018. Mary Ellen added Jerry Harris to the family in 2004 along with Lance and Wyatt soon after.
Through all these years Carmen continued to work for the federal government, play bridge, run a credit union, travel and attend Charger games. She also developed close friends at DCAS. In 1972, Ed Germon joined mom’s family. Ed and Carmen were to spend some 30 years together. He was our children’s granddad and was such a big part of mom’s life after we left home. They traveled often, with cruises to Alaska and trips to Laughlin and Las Vegas with Portis and Ann. Mom was an excellent organizer especially if it was a fundraiser, party or bridge club. Carmen continued to bowl with work friends and they would often take bus trips to Las Vegas for tournaments. Vicky, Babette and Mary Ellen were often part of the bowling. Carmen could never make a good bowler out of Babette, but the rest of the family were quite good. Carmen was part of a bridge club for some 10 years with a group of friends from work. All have since passed, but Meryl and Babette were able to sit in on some great games. When that group ended, she went on to join the Soledad Bridge Club in Pacific Beach and was an active member for some 15 years before moving back to Kansas. She served as its President and Vice President for more than 5 years. She was also an active volunteer at Sharps Hospital and Auxiliary for many years. She served as the Auxiliary President and was always looking for ways to improve the service and add members. One of the many joys of Carmen’s life was going to the horse races in Tijuana when her kids were young and then Del Mar with the grandkids. Babette and family lived close so she would often pick up Clayton for a day at the races. Off they would drive with him reading the racing program as they drove.
Leaving you with this one last memory – mom was very attached to her purse. She could not go anywhere without it. It was a subject of much amusement and debate over the years. No, we never found the winning lottery ticket. However, it did always have an abundance of Kleenex, her parking pass and the ever-loved wallet.
So many other stories to tell about her wonderful life and these are just a few. God speed “Big Red” and we will continue with the story telling and sharing of her wonderful life on September 25, 2022 in San Diego at Mary Ellen’s house. The final celebration of Carmen will be on October 22, 2022 with a Rosary (10:30 am) and Service (11:00 am) at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frontenac Kansas followed by the burial at the family plot in the Frontenac Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be hosted by the family at the Bath-Naylor Funeral home in Pittsburg, Kansas on October 22, 2022 at 1pm. All who knew Carmen are welcome

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