The Godfather of Flowers

Tributes continue to echo out from a city in mourning for the man that most will forever remember as Savannah’s most colorful character.

Photo: D. Paul Graham

Tributes continue to echo out from a city in mourning for the man that most will forever remember as Savannah’s most colorful character.

Thousands across the region posted photos and tributes on social media, spreading now-bittersweet memories of one of the South’s favorite sons. Many shared stories of how John Davis touched their lives, but one thing we all shared is our heartfelt loss for the man that gave so much of himself and never feared going the extra mile for those he loved.

“When my father passed away, I would go to a florist down the street, and the flowers (that I would take to his grave) would never be ready, so I’d just go behind the counter and start making them myself,” Davis said in a 2017 interview with South when he was featured as the Godfather of Flowers.

It was one of many times we were blessed to feature him in our pages, but outside the table of contents South was fortunate to call John Davis our friend. He created beautiful works of flowery art for many of our events and was a staple in the community and go-to for flowers. His quote still rings out through the digital universe, “Buy Flowers!”

Rain or shine, good times or bad, it was rare to see John Davis without his trademark smile and distinctive laugh. It was a perpetual state of joyful optimism that proved contagious to all around him, borne of his inherently jubilant spirit.

Starting at just 18 years old, John spent his life in pursuit of achieving floral greatness. But to him it was more than just flowers. His true talent, one whose absence has made the world a darker place, was his zest for the unusual, the offbeat and the surprising. The moments we remember him by will be the moments we were caught completely off-guard by his unrelenting zest for life.

Those meeting him for the first time may have found that zest a little bit of a heady tonic, but it would not take long though for them to realize the loveable man that John was. Perhaps the one who knew him best was his long-time partner and another of Savannah’s colorful characters, Jennifer Abshire Davis.

As the tributes continue, an irony remains. With his passing we feel compelled to send flowers, but without him, no other flowers seem to be as impactful. And just as our own words can’t do justice to his inimitable spirit, we’ll let him sum it up in his own, from a post shortly after his last birthday.

“I love my birthday. I thank God every day I wake up for another day to celebrate life. Seeing my friends last night was a blast. Looking forward to another trip around the sun with Jennifer Abshire Davis, my wife of five years and my wonderful supportive friends that are always there for me. God is good all the time. Buy flowers 233-6077.”

Rest in Peace John Davis and thank you for all that you gave to make Savannah what it is. You will forever be remembered.

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