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Flora Cabral Komes, matriarch of Flora Springs Winery, peacefully passed away on Oct. 29, 2012.
Flora always described her life as beautiful, and so it was, from her roots in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was born Nov. 7, 1911, to her final days in the Napa Valley and in her beloved San Francisco.
Flora was a nurse and a nurturer, whether it was a bird with a broken wing, a small, struggling plant or a scraped knee. She first recognized her call to nursing when she was in fifth grade and read about Florence Nightingale. In 1931, after her graduation from McKinley High School, Flora boarded a Matson liner to the mainland – to San Francisco to attend St. Mary’s Hospital School of nursing. Her first purchase when she arrived in chilly San Francisco was a warm coat.
By Halloween that first year, Flora had been introduced to Jerry Komes, who would become the love of her life. The attraction was mutual and he asked her out to a movie the next week, which happened to be her birthday. He arrived with a bouquet of violets – a practice that continued for the rest of their life together. He courted Flora for years, but she would not marry him until she completed her training, including a postgraduate degree at Shriner’s Hospital. They finally married at morning mass at St. Agnes Church in San Francisco, Feb. 16, 1935.
Flora eventually gave up her career to raise their children. Jerry and Flora were quite a team. Flora supported his successful career at Bechtel Corporation and he was always quick to tell you that his accomplishments were not his alone, but possible because of his devoted Flora. They were married 66 years when Jerry died at the age of 89.
Flora always lived up to her name – she loved to garden and always had green plants thriving around her. Even after she moved to The San Francisco Towers, people would bring her their weak and dying plants to revive.
In 1977, after a several year search, Flora and Jerry purchased the property at the end of West Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena. Flora had immediately fallen in love with this land and quickly convinced her husband that this was the perfect place to "retire." They hiked the hills together and located the springs, and when their son, John, proposed that the old winery building on the property be revived, it only made sense that the winery should be called Flora Springs after these two sources of life. Instead of a retirement property, this became a new career for Flora and Jerry and their children.
Flora remained interested and involved with the winery until her death. Last year, the family was able to celebrate Flora’s 100th birthday and people were astounded by her spirit and energy and radiant smile.
Flora is survived by her three children and their spouses, Michael ’58 and Pat Komes, John ’62 and Carrie Komes and Julie ’71 and Pat Garvey M.A. ’74 and daughter-in-law Rose Komes; seven grandchildren, Michelle (Steve) Dolge ’84, Jeannine (Dave) Ross, Lisa (Curt) Myers, Nadine (Scott) McIntosh, Kirsten Komes (granddaughter-in-law), Nat (Anne) Komes, Sean (Lindsay) Garvey and Joe Garvey; and 15 great-grandchildren, Jackson and Zoe Dolge, Tucker and Hayley Ross, Kyle and Keenan Myers, Peter and Mark McIntosh, Christian, Mary Grace, and Elisa Komes, Matthias and Charlotte Komes, Graham and Sabine Garvey. She also is survived by her devoted personal secretary, Catherine Cunningham. Flora is predeceased by her husband, Jerry Komes and her grandson, Otto Komes; her sisters, Philamena Kellogg, Adeline Spencer, and Ethel Helmboldt; and her brothers, Edward and Wilfred Cabral.