Terrence Brown, 65, sold flowers from grocery cart

October 22, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Terrence Brown, a former store owner who for the past decade sold flowers from a grocery cart in Sandtown-Winchester, died Sunday of heart failure at his West Baltimore home. He was 65.

Known to many West Baltimore residents as "Rosey" because of his flower business, Mr. Brown began selling flowers on area street corners in the mid-1980s and acquired a grocery cart in the early 1990s. He told friends that the cart was essential to his business, and with it he planned to put FTD out of business.

"He was the perfect example of a small-time businessman with big-time dreams. He knew that his dreams would come true with hard work," said Edna Simms, his occasional girlfriend and former fiance. "You had to admire him for dreaming."

Friends said Mr. Brown sometimes gave away more flowers than he sold.

"If he saw someone sad or someone who needed a pick-me-up, he'd give them a flower and a hug," said Clarence W. Brown, a longtime friend. "He often just couldn't pass any lady without giving her a flower or two."

Clarence Brown said his friend "thought he was Rudolph Valentino" with the flowers around women. "But he couldn't be too debonair wearing a green Red Man baseball cap, torn-up jean jacket and thick work shoes."

Mr. Brown sold his flowers in nearly every section of West Baltimore, including some of the area's heavily drug-infested pockets. He had no problems with drug users and dealers, and often sold flowers to them. But he always shooed children from the areas.

"If they lived nearby, he told them to stay in the house until the drugs had quieted down," Clarence Brown said. "He cared about the kids -- probably because he didn't have any -- and didn't want to see no wrong happen to them."

A native of Havre de Grace, Mr. Brown moved to Baltimore as a teen-ager and attended Frederick Douglass High School. He served in the Army from 1949 to 1953 and after his discharge returned to Baltimore and operated a grocery store near Gwynns Falls Parkway and Hilton Street.

He closed his business in the mid-1960s to work as a butcher for a supermarket and, from 1971 until the mid-1980s, worked in the city's Sanitation Department.

He made many friends working in West Baltimore for the Sanitation Department and began selling flowers there when he retired.

"Everybody knew Rosey, he didn't take himself too seriously and didn't take what he did seriously," said Carolyn Spelman, a frequent recipient of a flower. "He made the area lively and interesting. He was a friendly face."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Mr. Brown never married and is survived by a sister, Wanda Rhinehart of Washington.

Pub Date: 10/22/97

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