In the late 1940s there became an increasing need for the florists in Georgia to become organized. A dedicated group of professionals met with officials from the University of Georgia in Athens and sought their help in forming such an organization. The university was very interested and felt this type of group could provide benefits to their floriculture program as well as the university being of service to the florists.
Such outstanding people in the industry as Will E. Joy and Edgar Alsobrook of Columbus, Vernon Frank, Sr. of Decatur, James J. Harbin of Augusta, Kurt Innicken of Savannah, and Paul Keheley of Newnan worked with professor Roy Bowder and Dr. McHatton of the university, along with other Georgia florists, to form the organization.
This group stated the purpose of the organization to be the promotion of good will and cooperation within the floral industry and to support the University of Georgia in its efforts to be of service to the floriculture industry. They held their first convention in Athens, Georgia in 1947. At this convention Edgar Alsobrook, of Columbus, was elected the Associations first President.
In the late 1960s discussion was held to divide the state into geographic districts. The local clubs or associations were designated as the nucleus of the district organizations. Today we have 9 districts with the District President seated on the State Board of Directors.
A scholarship program was established in the mid 1970s to honor the memory of Clarence Croy, a Past President who had greatly contributed to the association over the years. The program has grown and each year a number of scholarships are awarded a the annual convention.
in 1985, under the guidance of Ms. B.J. White, the Association's President at the time, a Certification Program was inaugurated. This program was later moved to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. With the guidance of the staff at Tifton, and the help of dedicated members of what is now known as Georgia State Florists' Association, the Certification Program has become very successful, providing a means for members to achieve a greater degree of professionalism.
A great deal of credit is due the faithful group of florists who worked together to bring about the fine organization we have today, also much credit is attributed to the officials of the University of Georgia for their continued support.
Written By: Dick Timmons, GMF