The floral industry lost many bright lights in the last year, including two SAF past presidents. If there are other floral industry member names and links to obituaries that should be added to this list, please share them in the comments box for this story.
Marie Ackerman, AAF, AIFD, PFCI: 1960-2021
Marie N. Ackerman, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, beloved floral designer, educator and industry icon, died January 28 in the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, surrounded by her loving family. She was 60.
Klazina Dobbe, of Holland America Flowers LLC, passed away peacefully on February 5. Wife of Benno Dobbe and mother of former SAF board member Ben Dobbe, Klazina was an inspirational force behind Holland America Flowers from its beginnings in 1980, when Benno and Klazina made the “gutsy decision” to immigrate to the United States with their three young children.
Ellen Ellison, who, along with her husband, Jim, was inducted into SAF’s Floricultural Hall of Fame in 2019, passed away on June 4, 2021.
Sarah Armellini, 1923-2021
Sarah B. Armellini, 97, of Palm City, Florida and formerly of Vineland, New Jersey, passed away on July 4, 2021. Sarah and her husband Jules started the company now known as Armellini Express Lines, which imports, transports and distributes fresh cut flowers throughout the country.
Paul Shinoda Jr., a past president of the Society of American Florists’ board of directors, died July 20. He was 83.
Robert “Bob” Williams II, past president and chairman of the Society of American Florists, retired vice president of Smithers-Oasis’ North American operations, mentor to many, and the most recent recipient of the Paul Ecke Jr. Award, passed away September 27 after a battle with ALS. He was 75.