Carolyn B. Westerlund, who founded camps and a popular Monkton company that designed floral arrangements for weddings and other fashionable events, died of heart failure April 21 at Gilchrist Center, a hospice facility in Towson. She was 83.
"She had an incredible eye and everything was exuberant and elegant and lush," said Alex Secor, a longtime friend. "Her father was a designer, so she grew up with artists and designers. All of her work was custom work."
In 1982, Mrs. Westerlund founded Larkspur, a floral design company that handled weddings as far away as Nantucket. It also provided floral arrangements for high-profile events such as the 1994 opening of a new wing of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
"Mom worked until she was 80 years old," said David Westerlund, one of her five children.
The day before she died, she was greeted in the hospice with wisteria by Christopher Westerlund, another son — and promptly helped arrange it. "She was doing arranging until the last day," David Westerlund said.
"In the early years, she used flowers from her own gardens to create beautiful arrangements. Oftentimes she would walk in the woods and gather native flowers to add to the creations," David Westerlund said in a family statement about his mother.
The statement said she designed flowers for "several hundred weddings throughout her career" and clients included the Rouse Co., Alex. Brown & Sons, the Walters Art Museum and Ladew Topiary Gardens.
"Carol was the 'it' floral designer of her day," the family said.
Along with her husband, Jack, she began Bellefield Pony Camp in the 1970s and Camp Pine Needle in the 1990s. The latter camp featured hiking, camping, sports and navigating the Gunpowder River looking for arrowheads. "They had that camp going until she was in her late seventies," Secor said.
Secor said Mrs. Westerlund had a natural affinity for children. 'She would be like a mentor," she said.
John "Jack" Westerlund, whom she married in 1952 and who was an executive in the aeronautical industry, died two years ago.
Mrs. Westerlund was known as "Carol" or "Neema," a nickname.
The former Carolyn Burroughes was born Jan. 27, 1932, in New York City. She was raised in New Canaan, Conn., attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
After her marriage, the couple moved to Monkton in northern Baltimore County, and purchased Bellefield Farm.
Family members said she loved riding her horse, playing tennis and skiing, "but most of all loved surrounding herself with children."
She volunteered at Paul's Place, Children's Aid, and other charitable organizations.
In her later years, Mrs. Westerlund turned her floral design clients over to Secor, 53.
"I worked for her for 26 years," Secor said. "I know her clients. She knew I would take care of her clients for her."
The business is now called Alex Secor Designs.
Mrs. Westerlund is survived by her sister, Barbara Lloyd, of Chocorua, N.H.; sons Christopher Westerlund of Nantucket, Mass., Jody Westerlund of Sparks, David Westerlund of Monkton, and Michael Westerlund of Monkton; a daughter, Susie Westerlund of Santa Monica, Calif.; and 12 grandchildren.
Services will be held on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church in Monkton.