William Richardson Sr., owner of Rose Flower Shop and many other businesses
Mr. Richardson was a life-long entrepreneur who owned many businesses over the years, from fruit and vegetable stores, to ice cream parlors, night clubs and two flower shops.
William Buchanan Richardson Sr., 81, of Abington, who owned the Rose Flower Shop in the Ogontz section of the city and several other businesses, died as the result of a heart attack Saturday, Oct. 12, at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Richardson was the sixth of nine children born to Virginia and Edward “Bobby” Richardson. He grew up in North Philadelphia and attended Gratz High School.
As a teenager, Mr. Richardson began his career as an entrepreneur by opening a small fruit-and-vegetable store, said his daughter Donna Richardson-Glover. He later owned ice cream parlors and night clubs.
For the last 30 years of his life, he was known as “the Flower Man.” He owned the Rose shop at Ogontz and Stenton Avenues for about 15 years, until 2018, when he decided to retire.
“But he didn’t know what to do with himself,” his daughter said. So, a few months later, he opened Hamilton Flower Shop in Abington and worked there until he retired for a second time in July.
In the 1980s, Mr. Richardson had another flower business, the Rose Gallery on Belfield Avenue in Logan. Later, he expanded that store to include a garden center.
“He didn’t like to work for anybody," his daughter said. "He liked to be his own boss.”
Another daughter, Kimberly McKenzie-Lee, recalled that as a child, she would wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to go to a flower market with her father. “My dad was just so instrumental in teaching me about so many things, about what it meant to run a business,” she said.
“Mediocre wasn’t OK for him,” she said. “He strived for excellence in everything he did. He always said, if you wanted it done right, you have to do it yourself.”
Both daughters recalled helping in their father’s stores as children. “We were standing on boxes, running the cash register,” Richardson-Glover said.
Mr. Richardson, often wearing his signature cowboy hat, loved to dance, enjoyed traveling and going out to dinner, and was an Eagles fan.
He was known for his generosity, often donating money or merchandise to others in need, friends said.
“If there was a fire and a family lost three or four people in the fire, or any terrible tragedy, he would call and say, ‘Get a hold of that family and see if they need help with the funerals," recalled Thera Martin, a former host at WURD Radio who knew Mr. Richardson well. "’Tell them I’m taking care of all the flowers.' He would do that maybe three or four times a year.”
Mr. Richardson received a number of awards and citations, including a Timeless Pillar of the Community Award from the National Action Network, a Paul Robeson Freedom Fighter Award, a Recognition of Service Award from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department, the Men Making a Difference Award from Mothers in Charge, and a Heroes of the Community Award from the 35th Police District Advisory Council.
In addition to his daughters, Mr. Richardson is survived by his wife, Barbara Courtney Richardson; sons William Jr., Antonio, and Mark; stepdaughters Pamela Ray and Cynthia Dudley; three sisters; and three brothers. Daughter Doretha Richardson died earlier.
Services were Friday, Oct. 25. Burial was private.