"Jon E. did the mantel and all the wreathes," said the Mercy Ridge resident.  "And later she did the wedding bouquets for my three daughters. She's extraordinarily talented. They were gorgeous. I wouldn't have had anybody else do them."

Former Hampton resident Mary Helen Dennis, who now lives in Blakehurst, is also a longtime customer.

"I've had her do my  flower arrangement for years," she said. "Her work is beautiful, artistic and imaginative. She's wonderful. I can't say enough about her or her talent."

Stephens has always enjoyed her work, she said, because, "I just love flowers. If you love flowers, you'll do good stuff."

She had fun helping people and if they didn't know what they liked, guiding them toward something that she liked.

"I especially liked working with the difficult ones," she said.

'It's happy stuff to do'

Stephens is creative at more than floral designing. At one time, she was a decoupage fiend, she said.

"In the 1990s, if you weren't moving around (inside my house) you'd get painted on."

Over the years she has built a following as an artist, too, painting and creating handmade items.

She has parlayed her talent and, love of flowers and Baltimore into a family business of her own.

It's called Baltimore Classics, and it offers for sale, many with Baltimore scenes and themes, handcrafted notepaper, clay row house ornaments, hand-painted bookmarks, bird plaques and whimsical greeting cards.

Co-owned by her daughter, Marie Betz, it's the reason Stephens is rolling out clay instead of pastry dough in her kitchen and her dining room table usually has brushes and paints on it instead of silverware. (Go to Baltimoreclassics.etsy.com)

"I never have time to be lonely," she said. "All my little paints and my clay talk to me. It's happy stuff to do."

Meanwhile, looking back on her years at Radebaugh, her biggest challenge "was getting home in time to fix dinner for the kids when they were young," she said.

Now that Steve Radebaugh has a family of his own, he understands how difficult it must have been for her, considering the  crazy hours in the floral business on holidays. But she never complained, he said.

"The secret is I enjoy life," Jon E. said. "I really do. You either enjoy life or you don't. I try to have fun."