Raymond Ralph Emerick Sr., 80, owner of wholesale florist business

July 12, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Raymond Ralph Emerick Sr., the retired owner of a wholesale florist business who often flew his own plane for business appointments, died Wednesday of a heart attack at his Ellicott City home. He was 80.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park, he learned the wholesale floral trade from his father, Richard C. Emerick, who ran a business on Calvert Street near the old Calvert Station, a downtown Baltimore rail and freight terminal. The area once housed about a dozen wholesale flower dealers.

The younger Mr. Emerick left Forest Park High School to enlist in the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor. He served aboard the USS Fulton, a submarine tender that worked out of Brisbane, Australia, New Guinea and Hawaii. Trained in the care of nautical instruments, he worked on periscopes and other optical devices used aboard submarines.

After returning to Baltimore, he founded Calvert Wholesale Florist in 1948 in a rowhouse in the 800 block of N. Calvert St. In 1972, he relocated to Cold Spring Lane, where it remains. He was president and chief executive officer until 1987 and chairman of its board until last year.

"He only had a 10th-grade education, but he was self-made with a good business sense," said his son, Raymond R. Emerick Jr. of Lutherville, who followed his father in the business. "He liked flowers, too, and he loved marguerite daisies, his favorite. He had good people skills and was well thought of in the industry."

In 1956, he began taking flying lessons. Among other craft, he flew Beech Barons and a Travel Air from the old Rutherford Field near Woodlawn. He later rented a hangar at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. He often flew to flower growers in Florida and North Carolina; he also flew for pleasure and would take family members along.

He was active in the Wholesale Florist and Florist Supply Association and the Allied Florist Association of Baltimore.

Mr. Emerick was a member of the Baltimore Country Club and the Island Country Club and the Marco Island Model Yacht Club in Marco Island, Fla., where he also had a home.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. John's Episcopal Church, Ellicott City, where he was a communicant.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, the former Carol Ann Hauver; two other sons, Clayton R. Emerick of Asheville, N.C., and Michael H. Emerick of Charlottesville, Va.; a stepson, Norman Richard Winde of Ellicott City; two stepdaughters, Sally Winde Cortina of Cary, N.C., and Polly Winde Surhoff of Cockeysville; a sister, Betty Mitchell of St. Michaels; and 13 grandchildren.

His first wife of 34 years, the former Lola R. Ridings, died in 1982.

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