Marie Louise Robbins (nee Nelson)
June 17, 1950 – January 1, 2020
Marie was a soft spoken, highly skilled, well-traveled, businessperson.
She acquired a small flower shop in summer of 1975 with sales less than $80,000 per year, and through a series of 12 acquisitions, excellent marketing, good advertising and a dedicated loyal workforce, revenues at Smith/McKay Florists and Stoney Creek Florists grew to more than $1.6 million supported by a staff of 30:
- She commissioned the writing of order entry software in 1980 and was the first florist in the world to install a multi-terminal order entry computer system, (at a cost of $50,000 in 1980 dollars)
- Consolidated and rationalized thirteen acquisitions into 4 operations,
- Acquired 5 properties and sold 4 properties; retaining one as an income property.
She sold her business in late 2006.
Since then, she continued to have an active role with numerous school boards and taught English as a second language part time until July of 2019. She spent two years teaching life skills to indigenous children at ‘Kettle Point Reserve’ in South Western Ontario, and has special teaching accreditations in Home Economics, Music, Kindergarten and English as a second language.
Community involvement was a priority in Marie’s life. She was a catalyst in starting the ‘annual street barbeque’ on Leslie drive. She ran for city council in 2016 looking to represent a portion of Stoney Creek and was later appointed to serve on two City of Hamilton committees. She had been an active promoter for the proper development of the Devil’s Punchbowl in the Niagara Escarpment.
Marie was a strong believer in giving back to the community and brought dynamic leadership, in depth business skills, along with a strong passion for excellence into everything she did.
- Director of the Downtown Hamilton Rotary Club … (Member for 27 Years)
- Telling Tales “The literary council”
- Board of Directors …TESL
- Board of Directors … Canadian Club of Hamilton
- Board of Directors … Stoney Creek Historical Society Stoney Creek
- Member of The Hamilton Immigration and Newcomers Committee
- Member of The Status of Women for the City of Hamilton
- Volunteer with Battlefield Park
- Active with The Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce
- Chair of the Wentworth County Libraries. (16 branches)- -15 years (10 as Chair)
- Director of Ontario’s Trillium Foundation (grant review team) — 2 terms
- Member of Zonta- -10 Years
- President & Secretary
- The Hamilton and District Florist Association – -10 Years
- Member of New Product Development Committee for FTD, Chicago. — 2 Years
- Provided advisory support to AFS & Teleflora
Member of the Hamilton Mum Show Committee — 4 years
- Advisory Board Mohawk College (Florist Training Program)- -2 Years
- Jamesville BIA: Board of Directors (84 retailers)- -5 Years
- Board member of Stoney Creek Battlefield Museum – -2 Years
- Member of Hamilton Business Executive Organization- -20 Years
- Participated in both the Flag Day parade along with the Santa Claus parade.
- Member of Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce- -10 Years
- Director, St. Joseph’s Hospital Volunteer Board, Hamilton- -3 Years
- Past President of the Downtown Hamilton Rotary Club (200 Members)
- Chair of youth exchange committee, Downtown Hamilton Rotary Club- -5 Years
- Hosted 22 exchange students from around the world — 3 to 6 months each
- Board of Director … Hamilton Conservation Authority– 8 Years
- “2005 Volunteer Service Award”, from the Province of Ontario
- Awarded the prestigious “Paul Harris Fellow” for “Service above Self” four times
- 2017 Stoney Creek: “Citizen of the Year”
- Hamilton Board of Education “Special Achievement Award”, June 2017
Community involvement has always been a priority in Marie’s life. Starting in school as a safety patrol crossing assistance led to being chosen as representative visit to Ottawa as a thankyou for her volunteerism. As a member of the Saltfleet high school band, she toured Europe with the band representing Canada in its centennial year. She participated regularly in many community events such as the recent visit to Hamilton by the tall ships. She participated in the ‘Pan Am Games’.
1968-75 Teacher: K to grade 12 (teaching indigenous children @ Kettle Point Reserve)
1975-90 Occasional Supply Teaching with Hamilton Board of Education
1987-88 Full time Caledon High School (all-girls school for troubled teens)
- Purchased Frank B Smith Florists Limited in August of 1975.
- Acquired 12 additional stores between 1978 and 1995.
- Sold her business in July of 2006
2006 to 2020
2007 ESL (English as a Second Language) Summer School, Hamilton Wentworth, Catholic School Board; part time @ St Joseph’s Immigrant Women’s Center; Chisholm Education Center (teens with learning concerns); and McMaster University.
Part time and supply teaching for the Hamilton Wentworth School Board, the Catholic Board, Mohawk College, and McMaster University
- English as a Second Language to new Immigrants
- Teaching citizenship for new Canadians
- Citizenship Test Preparation leader for the Wentworth County School board
- Councillor as a Speech Therapist for a Speech Pathologist, assisting accident victim learning how to speak again
Personal: Married to Doug (45 years), one son Mark (Senior Researcher at the Institute on Governance in Ottawa).