Jean Head, whose flower and greenhouse business became a landmark presence in Hillsboro, died Thursday. She was 91.
“Jean’s Flowers and Gifts” had its genesis in her parents’ garage and chicken coop in the 200 block of East Pleasant Street in the early 1950s. The buildings still stand there today.
A 1961 advertisement in the Hillsboro Press Gazette announced the businesses’ relocation to North High Street, where it remained for more than three decades until 1995.
A 1967 story in the News Herald noted that an annual Christmas open house celebration drew 1,500 people from far and wide.
“Over 1,500 persons packed Jean’s Flowers and Gifts, North High St., during Jean’s two-day open house Saturday and Sunday,” read the story from Dec. 1, 1967. “Guests registered from all over southwestern Ohio, including Xenia, Dayton and Cincinnati. The event featured free refreshments and recorded seasonal music played throughout the buildings.”
After her retirement from the North High Street business, she operated Jean’s Silk Floral Creations on Danville Pike at the edge of town.
Virginia Purdy who, like Head, is a member of the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame, said her parents were close friends with Head. She said that each week the florist would bring a fresh flower arrangement to the Christian Science Society, a gesture she made at several locations around town.
Purdy said that when Head retired, she told her no one else would ever have Jean’s Flowers in Hillsboro because she would never sell the name.
Local historian Jean Wallis attended the 1st United Methodist Church with Head, and was a regular customer through the years. In fact, Jean’s Flowers provided the floral arrangements for the 1963 wedding of Wallis and her husband, Lester, who passed away in 2012.
Wallis remembers patronizing Jean’s Flowers for all her floral needs, and recalls the presence of a cat that seemed as much a part of the store as the flowers and gifts.
“The cat would always be on the counter, and I remember petting that cat,” said Wallis.
Wallis agreed that Head was one of the first influential businesswomen in Hillsboro.
“She always did a great job, and so did the people who worked for her,” said Wallis. “She was a very nice lady.”
Head was a member of the Hillsboro 1st United Methodist Church, the Hillsboro Chapter # 441 O.E.S. and the Hillsboro Garden Club.
Jean Head was born in Hillsboro on April 30, 1924, the daughter of the late Starling M. and Ethel G. (Carr) Ambrose. Besides her parents she was also preceded by her husband, J. Henry Head, on January 12, 1996, grandson Bruce Ford, brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Donald and Mary Ambrose and sister, Harriett Duckwall.
Funeral Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Hillsboro 1st United Methodist Church. Burial will follow at the Hillsboro Cemetery with Dr. Derek Russell officiating. Friends may call 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Thompson Funeral Home.
Donations can be made to the Hillsboro 1st United Methodist Church, Highland County Animal Shelter, Alzheimer’s Association or charity of choice.
See the obituary section for full details.