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Memorial Tribute Established Honoring Kenneth Royer

Kenneth Royer

A memorial tribute has been established through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) honoring industry leader and trailblazer Kenneth (Ken) Royer, AAF of Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, who passed away on December 14, 2023 at the age of 92.

It was his mother, Hannah, who started what is now fourth-generation family-owned Royer’s Flowers & Gifts in 1937. But Kenneth Royer proved to be an industry pioneer in his own right during a 60-year career with the company.

As he was growing up, Ken helped by delivering flowers to customers. After graduating from Michigan State University in 1951 with an AA degree in Floriculture, he joined the business full-time, eventually growing it into one of the largest retail florists in the United States.

Currently, with 15 locations in Pennsylvania and three in Ohio, Ken’s legacy and family business is kept alive through the leadership of two of his sons and three of his grandsons.   

Ken was one of the first florists in the country to implement computerized systems for multi-shop operations and was among the first florists to import flowers directly from South America. His business strategies were so successful that in 1998, he published the book, ‘Retailing Flowers Profitably,’ and held dozens of seminars on topics from marketing to management and post-harvest care. He also wrote a Florists’ Review magazine column, “Royer on Retail,” for 14 years.   

Ken spoke at over 50 wire service and other florist meetings, providing educational sessions on marketing and business management. His management philosophy, ethic, and commitment to providing his customers with good value became part of not only the Royer’s team but thousands of retailers nationwide.   

Outside of the family business, Ken actively volunteered his time and expertise. He served on several boards, including both AFE and the Society of American Florists (SAF). He served the Endowment for ten years as a board member, with six years as Treasurer from 1988 to 1994. Through AFE, he established the Hannah and Lester Royer Memorial Fund in honor of his parents – highlighting multiple generations of giving back.

Ken also served as committee chair for the American Floral Marketing Council; he encouraged the group to advertise non-holiday events to build these sales; he was instrumental in developing the “Flowers are Worth a Thousand Words” campaign, which focused on using flowers to celebrate everyday occasions.

In 2008, Ken and Jean started the Royer Family Charitable Foundation. Ken would tell people that the life accomplishment of which he was most proud is the work of the Foundation. The Foundation has contributed significant dollars to projects that work to improve the quality of people’s lives in Lancaster, Harrisburg, Carlisle, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Haiti.

It’s no wonder that such an innovator and industry champion was widely recognized for his impactful work. AFE has previously honored him with a Living Tribute. In 1983, he was inducted into the American Academy of Floriculture and named Pennsylvania Retail Florist of the Year. Other recognitions include SAF’s Golden Bouquet Award (1986), Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur Award (1993), Teleflora Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), FTD’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), and the Floriculture Hall of Fame (2021).  

His legacy will live on through the many businesses that he touched as well as through his family. He was married for 58 years to the former Jean Beckley, who died in May 2010. Kenneth and Jean had six children, all of whom survive them: Rebecca (David) Fuchs, Lancaster; William (Joyce Messere), Lafayette Hills, PA; Thomas (Cindy Essis), Hummelstown, PA; Gregory (Amy Bomberger), Lititz, PA; Michael (Julie Arnold), Lebanon, PA; Jonathan (Tammy Poczak), Mechanicsburg, PA.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, December 28, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. from Kreamer Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., 618 E. Main St. Annville, PA. Ken’s obituary and additional service details can be found here.

Checks can be sent to:
American Floral Endowment
c/o Ken Royer Memorial Tribute
610 Madison Street, Ste. 101, PMB 803
Alexandria, VA 22314

The family is always notified of donations, and contributions can be made in any amount.