Bortmas is remembered as a flower shop owner, car enthusiast, father – Butler Eagle

Lee Bortmas with a 1937 Packard he took to a car show. photo submitted

On this day, back then, a crowd of men would find themselves gathered inside Bortmas, the florist butler waiting to collect the box of roses they had ordered for the women they loved.

Valentine’s Day and other holidays were so busy for businessman Butler that the children of late owner Leeland “Lee” Bortmas asked their high school friends to work with them at the flower shop.

“You would walk out that door and see men everywhere just waiting to pick up flowers,” said Polly Palermo, one of Bortmas’ children who worked at the shop. “Valentine’s Day was very busy. Mother’s Day was even busier.

Bortmas, who sold the shop in 1979 and continued to collect and restore Bantam Jeeps and other classic vehicles, and serve in numerous community organizations, died Feb. 7 at the age of 94.

He started working for his father at the store in 1952 after he was discharged from the army.

The company’s Palermo souvenir begins at the store’s original location on Jefferson Street.

His grandfather Charles Bortmas bought the shop in 1927 during the Great Depression for $600. His father bought the business from his father. The family eventually moved the business to its current location on East Wayne Street.

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