The floral community mourns the loss of Theodore (Ted) Smithers, who passed away on March 28, 2012, at the age of 88. The son of floral foam inventor, V.L. Smithers, Ted Smithers was integral in growing Smithers-Oasis into a world-class operation distributing OASIS® branded products to florists throughout the globe.
With a high degree of integrity and a commitment to social and corporate responsibility, Mr. Smithers achieved great success in both his personal and business lives. Before he even began his career, he was a decorated World War II veteran who landed in Europe on D-Day. By the time he completed his military service, Mr. Smithers was a captain with four Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.
His business life began upon returning from war. He held a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and started his career with Goodyear Aircraft, where he was in charge of a small engineering group. By the late 1950s, Mr. Smithers joined the company founded by his father, V. L. Smithers, who changed the floral industry when he invented OASIS® floral foam in 1954. Then the company was simply known as the V.L. Smithers Manufacturing Company. In 1962, it was Ted Smithers who suggested the company’s name be changed to Smithers-Oasis.
In the early 1970s, Ted Smithers and his brothers, Bob and Bill, became co-owners of the company. In 1973 Ted became president – a position he held for many years before selling the company to Charles Walton in 1986. Under Ted’s leadership, Smithers-Oasis flourished and became an international company, selling its products around the world. Ted continued to serve as a member of Smithers-Oasis Company’s Board of Directors through the remainder of his life.
Mr. Smithers was active in the American Academy of Floriculture, Society of American Florists and the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association. Additionally, he and his wife, Linda Smithers, formed and built Susan’s Coffee and Tea; a small local chain of businesses in the Akron, Ohio, area.
Ted will be greatly missed by his extended global Smithers-Oasis family of employees around the world who live the core values he inspired during his tenure with the company: Dedication to customers, Quality of products and services, Respect for the individual, and Integrity and trust.