The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has established the Yoshimi and Grace Shibata Family Fund to honor flower grower and wholesale florist Yoshimi “Shimi” Shibata and his wife Grace. Shimi passed away on Oct. 31 at the age of 100.
Founded by a contribution from the Shibata family, the fund honors the legacy of Shimi and Grace and their accomplishments in the floral industry.
Shimi was a past president of the Mt. Eden Floral Company, formerly Mt. Eden Nursery, based in San Jose, CA. He led the company for more than 55 years. Other related companies owned and operated by Shimi are GM Floral Co and the California–Florida Plant Co., which was a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation of Japan.
Shimi had many leadership roles in his own companies, throughout the flower industry, and in the community. He served on the AFE Board of Trustees, as well as on the boards and executive committees of the Society of American Florists (SAF), Wholesale Florist and Florist Suppliers Association (WF&FSA), Roses Inc., and the California State Floral Association. He was elected president of WF&FSA in 1972, and in 1976 he was inducted into SAF’s Hall of Fame.
In 2006, Shimi released his memoir “Across Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Nisei Flower Grower.” This year, the California Association of Flower Growers and Shippers awarded him with the 2015 Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his leadership, strategic thinking, and contributions to the floral industry in California.
Shimi married Grace in 1947 and had three children — Naomi, Robert, and Michael. His grandson, Alex, began working for Mt. Eden in 2011, continuing the family legacy into its fourth generation.
“Shimi and the entire Shibata family have always been great champions of the industry,” says Executive Director Debi Aker.
“We are honored that the family chose to establish this new fund honoring Shimi and the Shibata family through AFE.”
For those wishing to honor Shimi’s legacy in the floral industry, contributions to the Yoshimi and Grace Shibata Family Fund can be made through the AFE donate page (http://www.endowment.org/donate) or by sending a check to:
American Floral Endowment
1601 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Check out a video that provides more details on the legacy of Shimi.