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Published: Saturday, 12/3/2011

Mary Catherine DeHaven, 1919-2011: Findlay store founder’s passion was floral design

BY TONY COOK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FINDLAY — Mary Catherine DeHaven, who with her husband founded the DeHaven Home and Garden Showplace in Findlay, died Tuesday at her Deer Lake Condominium residence in Findlay. She was 92 and died of natural causes, her family said.

She and John R. DeHaven, who died in 2009, founded the business that would later evolve into the Home and Garden Showplace on Lima Avenue. Mrs. DeHaven worked at the showplace into her late 80s and the business remains in the family today.

Mrs. DeHaven made significant contributions to the business, said her daughter, Ann DeHaven. “She was the one who talked my father into going into giftware and home décor,” Ms. DeHaven said. “It changed the business into a year-round business.”

Findlay residents frequently sought out her flower arrangements, seasonal wreaths, and cemetery decorations, said her daughter, Amy Ballinger, who worked with her mother for 23 years.

“She was very creative. Mom’s main love was doing the floral design,” Ms. Ballinger said. “She had a lot of regular customers. She loved people in the community, and people loved her.”

Mrs. DeHaven was born on May 25, 1919, to Paul and Anna Julien, of Findlay. She endured the loss of her father when she was 2 and the loss of a sister10 years later. Those difficulties gave her the ability to overcome adversity, a quality that would become essential as she and her husband — her childhood sweetheart — began their own hardware business.

She worked during her high school years at The Findlay Print and Patterson’s Department Store. After graduation she worked in the office of John Henderson at Buckeye Traction Ditcher. She was then hired as an executive secretary for O.D. Donnell and other key executives on the sixth floor of the Ohio Oil Company.

She married Mr. DeHaven after he served in World War II, and they were married 64 years. They began their own hardware store in 1953. During the early years of the business, the store flooded twice within a three-week period. The community pitched in to help clean up.

“There was always a gratefulness to the community,” Ms. DeHaven said of the way her parents ran their business.

As the hardware business increasingly became dominated by chain stores, Mrs. DeHaven and her husband began to focus exclusively on gardening. In the late 1980s, they became an original member of Home and Garden Showplace, a nationwide co-op group of leading independent garden center retailers. They eventually moved the business to its current location on Lima Avenue.

“Even as of a year ago, she was in the store helping as much as she could,” Ms. DeHaven said. Mrs. DeHaven’s son, Tim DeHaven, now runs the store.

In addition to her love for the business, Mrs. DeHaven was also a strong Catholic. She attended school at St. Michael’s the Archangel Catholic Church, which her great-grandfather helped found, and was a life member. She participated in the choir, Rosary Altar Society, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Blanchard Valley Hospital Twigs, and Zonta.

She loved dancing with her husband and spending time at their summer home on Lake Erie.

Surviving are son, Tim DeHaven; daughters, Ann DeHaven and Amy Ballinger; seven grandchildren; three step-grandchildren, and four step-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday in Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home, Findlay. The rosary will be recited at 5:45 p.m.

A Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Findlay.

The family suggests tributes to St. Michael Catholic Church Capital Fund or Bridge Home Health and Hospice in Findlay.

Contact Tony Cook at: acook@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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