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Joe Hernandez Flores

December 10, 1946 – May 26, 2022


Joe Hernandez Flores, longtime employee of City Light Community Ministries, died Thursday, May 26, 2002, in Hendrick Hospice from complications of diabetes. He was 75.


A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 1, 2002, at City Light, 336 Hickory, where Joe had served as custodian and kitchen worker for more than 25 years. He retired in 2020. His wishes were to be cremated. Girdner Funeral Home handled arrangements.


Joe was born Dec. 10, 1946, to Lucio Flores, Sr., and Benita Hernandez Flores in Cuero, TX. He learned his strong work ethic as a child working as a migrant farm laborer with his parents. In 1971 he came to Abilene and got a job at Old Abilene Town. He later took care of an elderly couple for his room and board for more than 10 years.


After their deaths, he was homeless until he crossed paths with David Leyerle, then the director of First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center. Leyerle took Joe under his wing, letting him stay in his garage and giving him small jobs to do. He also led Joe to the Lord and baptized him in a service at FBC.


That relationship helped solidify the vision that Leyerle had been praying about -- a full time ministry to the homeless and working poor. That led to the founding of City Light, sponsored by FBC and later becoming a fully supported ministry of the church, with Leyerle named pastor of missions. Joe was not only City Light’s first client; he was a charter employee.


Some called him City Light’s poster boy. The ministry helped him get into public housing and he eventually saved enough money to buy a vehicle. After Leyerle’s retirement, Joe stayed on under current pastor for missions John Moore. Joe considered keeping the extension of the Lord’s house spotless as his personal mission.


Joe credited Maura dela Cruz, who retired from City Light only two weeks ago, with encouraging him and helping him with the reading and writing skills he had never learned. He also counted Dr. Bob Lockhart, Dr. Julian Bridges, and Roy Jones, all charter directors of City Light, as his mentors.


He was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers, Jerry Flores, Johnny Flores, Henry Flores, Sr., and Domingo Flores.


The family would like to thank the numerous employees of Hendrick Medical Center North -- from trauma center to ICU, who lovingly cared for him during the four weeks he was hospitalized. Also, the compassionate staff of Hendrick Hospice.


Any memorials may be made to City Light Community Ministries, 336 Hickory, Abilene, TX, 79601.