Thomas Butler, chairman of Teleflora, died Aug. 14 after battling cancer.
Butler joined American Floral Services, based in Oklahoma City, Okla. in 1985 as executive vice president and then became the company’s president. In 2000, he led the successful merger of AFS and Teleflora, making Teleflora the world’s largest flower delivery service, and then became its chairman.
Butler was born in Detroit on November 7, 1945 to John and Eleanor Butler. In 1967, Butler graduated from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and went on to teach English and coach basketball and football at St. Rita Catholic School.
After teaching, Tom began working at FTD, where he held a variety of senior positions, including director of the international division. He also served as the vice president of sales and marketing for Syndicate Sales in Kokomo, Ind.
Butler served as world president of Teleflora International, chairman of the AFE, chairman of the AFE Development Committee and trustee on the AFE Board. He was a member of the American Academy of Florists, Professional Floral Communicators International and Society of American Florists (past board of directors). Additionally, he was a member of numerous national and state floral associations.
He was the recipient of SAF’s Hall of Fame Award and the Paul Ecke Jr. Award; Florida State Florists’ Association Hall of Fame Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and Place in the Sun Award; Michigan State Florist Association Award of National Industry Service; Michigan Floral Foundation Hall of Fame Award; Arkansas State Florists’ Association Distinguished Service Award and Oklahoma State Florists’ Hall of Fame Award.
Butler is survived by his wife, Becky, her two sons Cameron and Dustin (Evin) Stark; daughter, Amy (Lyol) Brumby; grandchildren, Cole Thomas and McKenna MaryJo; sister, Maureen (Ken) Frahm; brother, John (Linda) and their families; aunts and cousins. Tom is preceded in death by his parents; his previous wife, Jo; grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Read the full obituary on Larkin Mortuary’s website.