Albemarle florist honored with special recognition during council meeting

Published 3:49 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

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After more than 70 years in the floristry business, where he ran Harwood’s Florist, achieved international success and served numerous presidents, Albemarle resident Claude Harwood was honored by the city council Monday night for his service to the community.

“You’ve affected so many people with you and your florists and you continue to do that today,” Mayor Ronnie Michael told Harwood. “We thank you so much for what you do.”

Council members each briefly spoke about Harwood’s impact on not just themselves but the greater community.

Martha Hughes said anytime anyone ordered flowers in the city, it was always easy to tell by the design that they came from Harwood.

“You had a very distinct design about your flowers and they were very unique and were always beautiful and I thank you for that,” Hughes said.

Dexter Townsend joked that throughout his life, Harwood routinely kept him “out of the doghouse” by always providing him with flowers for key moments, including anniversaries and birthdays.

Benton Dry said whenever the occasion called for flowers, “your family was always there for our family and we appreciate that.”

Reading from a resolution commending Harwood for his many decades of service, Michael said the┬ábusiness first opened in Albemarle in 1942, when Harwood’s father first started selling tomato plants before transitioning to flowers.

Harwood, 90, was involved with the North Carolina State Floral Association and in 1978 won first place in America’s Cup, a national floral design competition that has been around since 1910, according to the resolution. He then represented the United States in international competition in Melbourne, Australia, where he placed in the top 20 among all floral designers.

Harwood also helped decorate the White House during the holidays for Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and helped with the floral arrangements during the inaugurations of Carter and Reagan.

Harwood operated the family business until about five years ago, when he sold it. He currently helps out at Blooms Royale Florist.

“I am speechless,” Harwood said, holding back tears. “I appreciate the opportunities that I have had.

“It all boils down to the maker upstairs keeping me here this long to be able to help other people,” he added.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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