Lukens Historic District to Present Community Leader, Gladys Flamer, 103, with Rebecca Lukens Award

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103 year old community leader once worked for Luken's Steel president at his family estate in the 1920's. Now she is receiving their highest award.

The Graystone Society, located in the Lukens National Historic District in Coatesville, has announced its fourth annual Rebecca Lukens Award to be presented to noted Coatesville and Chester County community, church and political leader, Gladys Flamer. Established by The Graystone Society to honor individuals who exhibit the qualities of Rebecca Lukens, the annual award will be presented to Flamer at a March 18th reception in the Lukens Executive Office Building—the date commemorating Rebecca Lukens’ 216th birthday.

Born in 1906 in Christiana and one of thirteen children, Gladys Flamer was just a young girl out of Benner High School when she took the job as laundress at the home of Lukens Steel president, Robert Wolcott at his estate in Thorndale. Eventually, through hard work and dedication, she would achieve the position of head cook. Gladys remembers her days at The Wolcott Estate, “as sometimes polishing silver for two days straight,” or watching the “dogs as big as cows” being walked.

Because education was hard to come by (especially for African-American girls), Mrs. Flamer’s parents aligned their daughter with people who had the benefit of a higher education. One such group hailed from Cheney University and traveled to meet then-first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt for a luncheon in the White House. Mrs. Flamer recalls, “Three cars traveled from Coatesville to the White House from Cheney. Most of those people are dead now. God blessed me to be here after they have gone.” Seven decades later that same university would bestow a full scholarship upon Mrs. Flamer.

Mrs. Flamer’s illustrious and diversified career would take her in many directions. She once owned a beauty shop in Coatesville for twenty years. She was an LPN at the VA Medical Center and Embreeville Hospital. She also worked for Lukens Steel and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Many also remember her tenure as a sales associate at Strawbridge and Clothier at the age of 90.

She is an active member of her church and politically shrewd. Her dedication to her community includes membership in The Coatesville Historical Commission, The Eastern Stars, The Better Community Group and Better Housing and Politics, the Sick Committee, the Coatesville Senior Center, the local NAACP and the Hyacinth Federated Club (among others). She is a Judge of Elections in her fifth ward and she still attends Council Meetings. She continues to bake homemade pies and serves lunch to the Thursday Retired Men’s Club. She received a host of awards and honors for dedicated service and devotion to hard work in many of these organizations.

Mrs. Flamer’s secret to longevity? “Serving the Lord. I was raised in the Church. The saints are supposed to take care of the Lord’s Temple.”

The Rebecca Lukens Award will be presented to Gladys Flamer at a reception in the Lukens Executive Office Building, 50 South First Avenue, in Coatesville, Pa., on March 18, 2010, from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 and reservations are required. This event also is made possible through the kindness of the following sponsors: PECO Energy; Rainer & Company; Huston Properties, Inc; The Stewart Huston Charitable Trust; and Mr. Scott G. Huston.

For event information and reservations, please contact The Graystone Society at 610-384-9282 or graystone(at)lukensnhd(dot)org. Created in 1984, The Graystone Society helps preserve the City of Coatesville’s historic architecture and assists with municipal improvement and economic development through preservation. The Graystone Society is named for Graystone Mansion, an important property within the Lukens National Historic District. The district is the future home of The National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum. The museum will focus on the people, places, products and processes that made Lukens Steel Company a Fortune 500 producer of carbon, alloy and stainless steels. The Coatesville steel mill is America’s oldest, continuously operating iron and steel mill and will celebrate its 200th anniversary in July 2010.

For more information on this release, contact Melinda Williams at The Williams Group, 610-518-4888 or visit


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