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Flowers fade, but Hosfeld's impact on Westminster is evergreen

A Westminster institution, John Raymond Hosfeld, 74, of Westminster, died Thursday, Nov. 10, at Carroll Hospital Center.

He was a fixture on Westminster's Main Street, where he owned and operated the Flower Box and practiced his trade as an artist, florist and designer.

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To be in the company of Hosfeld was to be overwhelmed by his kindness and pride in his art, and to be invigorated by his enthusiasm for our community. At a time when so many demand attention, Hosfeld was always looking for more things to do for others, and for Westminster.

Hosfeld was a 1956 graduate of Westminster High School and the New York School of Floral Design. He took over the business from his late Aunt Grace M. Benson, who started the shop on Main Street in Westminster in 1951.

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He owned and operated the shop from Aug. 5, 1965, until he retired on Nov. 1, 2009.

He was a life member of St. Benjamin's (Krider's) Lutheran Church in Westminster, and is credited with being instrumental in making the church one of the first handicap accessible places of worship in the area.

He was born June 30, 1937, in Taneytown, the son of the late Charles H. Hosfeld and Doris (Sell) Staub; and was preceded in death by stepmother Mary Yingling Hosfeld and a sister, Kay G. Hosfeld-Flater.

The community gathered at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home on Willis Street last week to give thanks for the life and times of Hosfeld. His pastor, the Rev. David S. Schafer from St. Benjamin's, conducted the services.

Hosfeld was surrounded by his favorite flowers, gardenias, lilies and roses, along with friends and family, including lifelong friend Billy J. Frey; brother Richard C. Hosfeld and wife Helen; and great-nephews and niece, Xavier, Sebastian and Scarlett Joseph.

Hosfeld's niece, Sherri Hosfeld Joseph, also an artist and the owner of Birdie's Coffee Cafe, represents the third generation of Hosfelds to own a small business on Main Street in Westminster. She has often remarked that "Uncle John" was her inspiration to open a business.

Joseph noted that Hosfeld was paralyzed since 1965, and he spent the majority of his life in a wheelchair. Never complaining, or expecting special treatment because of his disability, he lived life to its fullest, she said, traveling, enjoying friends and family.

"When I was a young girl, his wheelchair was to me, magical — not something that held him back, but something that propelled him forward," she said.

"One of the things I respected most about my uncle was his unwavering commitment to be just exactly who he was," Joseph said. "In a small town, he was able to become an institution on Main Street.

"People loved my uncle for who he was — a friendly, thoughtful, caring man — who made beautiful flower arrangements for every occasion in just about everyone's life in Westminster and Carroll County," she said. "He touched the lives of so many and received remarkable acceptance in return."

When is not stopping to smell the flowers, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com

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