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Florist Sammie Scott dies at 98

Sammie Scott, believed to be the oldest American florist, died March 29 in Amarillo, TX, at the age of 98. Mr. Scott worked in his shop from 1957 up until two weeks before his death, according to a news release. His daughter, Mary Ruth Albracht, said her father had arranged about 40,000 casket pieces and worked five generations of weddings during his long career.SAMMIE-SCOTT

“He shared in that many lives,” Albracht said in the release. “He loved all flowers. Each flower has their own personality and each flower has their own fragrance, and he loved mixing all the colors. His favorite colors were pink and purple and he loved red roses.”

Mr. Scott was born in 1918 in Post Oak, TX, and traveled in a covered wagon with his family to farmland south of Lubbock, where he grew up surrounded by cotton fields, horses and mules. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, he moved to Amarillo and became an apprentice at Buthker’s Flowers in 1946.

He told the Amarillo Globe-News in 2015 that it wasn’t a profession he had considered before.

“I thought this might be a sissy job for a man, to be in the flower business,” said Scott. “I was raised on a cotton patch, but after I got my feet wet, it got contagious. I fell in love with it. You get the biggest smile in the world when you give a person a bouquet or a rose. Flowers have a power all their own — flower power.”

He opened Scott’s Flowers in Amarillo in 1957.

Jim Schooler, founder at Schooler Funeral Home in Amarillo, said in a news release that even if Scott’s Flowers was closed, Mr. Scott was always available to furnish flowers for deaths over the weekend. Schooler knew he could call Mr. Scott’s personal phone and he’d be more than willing to provide beautiful arrangements for the hurting family.

“He would not only take the orders on the weekends, do them by himself, and then the next thing I know is this huge flower van would be pulling up and it would be Mr. Scott himself making the delivery,” said Schooler in the release. “He was an amazing, wonderful, incredible man.”

In 2010, the Panhandle Allied Florists Association awarded Mr. Scott as “Florist of the Century” and presented him with a plaque and a U.S. flag flown over the White House in his honor.

Having worked alongside her father for 47 years, Albracht said she and the design team at Scott’s Flowers would continue his legacy.

“He truly believed flowers could dramatically alter a moment,” Albracht said. “His favorite saying was ‘In lieu of flowers, send more flowers.’ ”