Flore Zéphir

January 11, 1958December 15, 2017

Flore Zéphir, 59, of Columbia, MO. died on Friday, December 15, 2017 at the University of Missouri Hospital. Visitation will be at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 West, Columbia from 5-7pm on Thursday, December 21 with funeral service at 10am, Friday December 22. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Flore was born on January 11, 1958 in Jeremie, Haiti to Sylla Zéphir and France Garoute. In 1975, she moved from Haiti to the United States. She graduated from Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and education in 1980. She attended Indiana University-Bloomington where she earned two Master of Arts degrees in 1983 and a Ph.D. in French Linguistics in 1990.

Flore started teaching at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1988 in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. She was a professor of French and chair of the department as well as coordinator of the Master’s program in foreign language teaching. She was a faculty fellow in the Division of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. She served previously as department chair from 2008 to 2014, and as director of the Afro-Romance Institute from 2008 to 2016. She was also chair of the Linguistics Area Program from 2004 to 2007. She served on the MU Faculty Council from 2015 to 2017 and from 2003 to 2006.

Flore is the author of three books on Haitian immigration and ethnic identification as well as numerous articles and review essays. She received several awards at MU including a 1995 Kemper award for excellence in teaching, a 2003 award for excellence in advising and a Faculty-Alumni award in 2004. She is survived by her daughter, Ambre Zéphir Michel and husband Terrance Floyd of Minneapolis, MN; her mother, France Garoute of Columbia, MO.; her sister, Dominique Zéphir and husband Roland Amoussouga of Montreal, Canada; her brothers, Kalil Zéphir and Emmanuel Zéphir of Haiti. Her father preceded her in death.

There will be a memorial service on Wednesday, December 20 at 10:00 am. on the University of Missouri campus at the Reynolds Alumni Center, Columns C.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Professor Flore Zéphir Memorial Fund at the University of Missouri. The Fund will support research and travel for graduate students in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Online contributions may be made at:


  • Visitation Thursday, December 21, 2017
  • Funeral Service Friday, December 22, 2017


Flore Zéphir

have a memory or condolence to add?

David Coberly

October 24, 2019

I am so sorry to only now be learning of my dear friend and mentor's death. Flore, you were the most wonderful dissertation supervisor I could have asked for. Exceptional scholar and dear friend, I will miss you every day.

You were a one-of-a-kind. Hope to see you in heaven one day.

Charles Pooser

August 17, 2018

So many of us are missing sweet Flore! I was a fellow graduate student with Flore at IU-Bloomington many years ago. Arriving in a later group of grad students, Flore was a wonderful mentor to us all. Her smile and good cheer could lift your spirits like no other person.

Jacques Simon

February 22, 2018

I never met Dr. Zephir but I'm a student of hers from afar. I came across her books on the Haitian Diaspora and have been a fan of hers ever since. I've brought all three. The Haitian American community has lost an intellectual giant. I often called her the Haitian Cornel West. I'm just finding out about her passing while googling her name in hopes she published another book or one of her always amazing lectures posted online. I pray for her family and friends. I'm truly saddened to learn of her passing. I feel bad I never made the effort to meet her in person. She was gift to my people. As a minister, she helped me understand what it means to be Haitian-American like no other scholar. She'll be missed.

My sincerest condolences to anyone suffering from the lost of this great woman.

Love and peace,


Cliff JP

January 22, 2018

I came across Dr. Zephir's work while preparing to work on a special project for Haiti and had planned on contacting her as it came to completion. I decided to research her text "Haitian Americans" once again today and finally did more research about her specifically. It is with great sorrow to learn that she has passed and transitioned into the spirit realm. May she rest in peace and may her family carry on her legacy. Shalom and God bless.

Cliff JP

December 27, 2017

Flore , thank you so much for all you have done to my daughter Monica Marcos LLinás , she loves you and she allways will .
You are a great , great woman .

Pilar LLinás Caldentey

Palma de Mallorca SPAIN EUROPE

Amouzou-Agbe Stéphanie

December 24, 2017

Mes sincères condoléances

Erin Gallagher

December 24, 2017

What a great loss this is for Bambi and all of Flore's family. She will be greatly missed.

Carolle Silney, M.D.

December 22, 2017

Flore, our Haitian community and the whole MU community of Columbia, MO have lost so much with your untimely departure! I have known you for twenty- nine years and it has been all blessings. I could not go anywhere in Columbia speaking French and saying where I was from without someone asking me if I knew Flore Zephir! You have given so much to the littlest of us, so unselfishly. We will carry it forward as long as we live. We are all blessed to have known you. We will miss you!

Deborah Wigginton

December 22, 2017

My deepest sympathies to Bambi and the family.
Sympathies also to the many students and faculty at MU and across the world who have lost a true champion of education and students. Flora was truly a flower.

Chad (Chadito) Montuori

December 22, 2017

Sometimes it only takes one-just one person to make a difference in the life of another. For over a decade of my academic life, Dr. Zephir was that person to me. It's not an exaggeration to say that she was the deciding factor in my decision to attend MU. All of my potential choices had solid programs, but only one school had Dr. Zephir. She was just a step above. Everything she did was done so thoroughly and with such care that even a quotidian email was evidence that she always took the time to make sure all your questions were answered. She was the perfect combination of possessing equal parts intellect and compassion. To be the smartest person in the room but also the most caring is a rare combination. I, like so many, do not fit that profile and never will. But having known someone who was, Dr. Zephir, inspires me to continue to be better inside and outside the classroom. Just the other day I received an email from a former student who expressed gratitude for the impact I made on his life. I smiled and knew this was the universe telling me that things were going to be okay. Dr. Zephir, thank you for shaping me into the type of person who will go the extra mile for our students. Nobody did it like you and nobody will ever replace you. But, rest easy friends and family, her loving spirit lives on in all of us.