John “Buddy” Woods, who has been an icon in the flower business in Corbin for 60 years, died Saturday in Lexington at age 82.
Buddy, as he was known throughout the community, owned and operated Corbin Flower Shop with his wife, Rhoda, and son, Johnny.
“People talked about how he was always grinning and would go out of his way to do stuff for people,” Johnny said.
The couple founded the store in 1960.
Johnny said Buddy initially worked at another local flower shop, leaving there to go to work at a finance company.
However, as Buddy said in an interview with The News Journal for the Summer 2018 edition of its Strictly Business magazine, he decided he was going into the flower business for himself and made the announcement to Rhoda.
“I said, ‘I am going into the flower business.’ I had done rented the building before I told her that,’ Buddy said with a laugh. “She said, ‘Do what?’”
Buddy admitted he didn’t know if the business would be successful as the Laurel County native was not well known in Corbin
However, through the years, Corbin Flower Shop and the Woods family has developed a loyal customer base, some of them being the third generation.
Eric Grisell with Vankirk-Grisell Funeral Home said the relationship between funeral homes and flower shops is uniquely intertwined.
“We rely on them to help bring a special meaning to the visitation and funeral,” Grisell explained.
“The Woods family have always gone above and beyond to help with any request we’ve made. Many times, Buddy offered ways to help us before we even had time to ask for help,” he said.
Grisell recalled experiencing Buddy’s infectious sense of humor when he last saw him at the flower shop recently.
“At age 82, Buddy was in the back working as usual. He was smiling and cutting up and when I went to leave, he told me, ‘Don’t run off cause they could put me back to work,’” Grisell said. “I smile when I think back to that last visit and wish I’d have stayed longer to talk with Buddy.”
Johnny said despite his father’s age, he could still be found at the shop every day.
Since his passing, I think about where I’ll be when I’m 82 I doubt I’ll still be working seven days a week,” Grisell said. “In fact, I hope to be relaxing and not working, but Buddy was right where he wanted to be working side by side with his wife for the last 60 years and later with his son beside them both and making flower arrangements for the people in the town he loved.”
The funeral for Buddy is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Vankirk-Grisell Funeral Home with Rev. James Hodge and Rev. Bobby Joe Eaton officiating.
Burial will be in Cumberland Memorial Gardens.