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Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.
1920 – 2008
Frances Jones Poetker has blended a love of nature with an entrepreneurial drive.
Poetker acquired Jones, The Florist in Cincinnati in 1935 after earning her master’s degree in plant ecology from the University of Cincinnati. She owned and operated the florist business for 44 years.
Throughout her career, Poetker has been an educator, lecturer, consultant and writer. She co-authored “Wild Wealth,” which received the Chicago Critics Award in 1972. She also wrote a syndicated column called “Fun with Flowers” for 68 major newspapers.
Poetker was the first woman director on the board of the Society of American Florists, and served as a board member of the American Horticultural Society for nine years. She also served as spokeswoman for the Florists Transworld Delivery Association for 14 years.
She was the first woman appointed to the board of Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. and has been director emeritus since 1988. She was a director of Hospice of Greater Cincinnati, vice president of the Air Pollution Control League of Greater Cincinnati and member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s policies board.
People used to call Jones the first lady of flowers. She was the person in Greater Cincinnati to call to decorate a wedding or other social or public function. But it’s an understatement to say she was a florist. Mrs. Poetker was a businesswoman, a teacher, an author, a columnist, a philanthropist, a horticulturalist, a botanist, an ecologist, a TV and radio personality, a marketer, a spokeswoman, an ambassador and an expert on bridal trends and historical gardens.
Poetker died in March 2008.
Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization