When my parents purchased Hampson’s Floral in 1972 they knew little about being florists. They were fortunate that there was an experienced, creative designer willing to stay on and help them to learn the trade. The designer was Rose Korleski and she became not just a co-worker, but a dear friend.
Rose not only helped my parents learn to be florists, but she and her husband, Dick, helped my parents to meet people and learn all about life in Sycamore. This picture was taken shortly after my parents bought the flower shop and shows Rose creating a corsage.
We were saddened to learn late last week that Rose had died and are so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of Rose during her many years at Hampson’s and Kar-Fre Flowers.
Often during a holiday when the shop was crazy busy and Rose would be working on orders that were needed for delivery. She often would need some of the flowers that were in our front cooler, but knew there would be customers needing to be waited on, but knew that my dad would be impatiently waiting for her orders so he could route them out on deliveries. In order to get done she would put on her jacket, grab her purse, and wander out in front so that she blended in with our other customers. She was able to pull the flowers that she needed from the cooler without anyone noticing and get back to her desk to complete her orders and keep our delivery team busy.
As our business grew so did our staff and Rose was always kind and patient as she helped our designers to learn the ropes in our hectic design room.
Rose and another designer review some notes on an order’s colors and dimensions.
Rose was always a role model to us for healthy living. She always brought a healthy lunch to work with her and most of the time would walk or ride her bike the 2+ miles each way to Kar-Fre Flowers. I remember one day a lady stopped at the shop trying to find homes for a litter of orange kittens that she had. Rose decided to adopt two, named them Mert and Gert, and rode home on her bike with them in the basket between her handlebars.
Rose was an amazing, creative, imaginative designer. She loved working with flowers and creating stunning arrangements for any occasion. Rose was always eager for a floral challenge and when someone requested that we create a centerpiece with a violin in the center, Rose created a beautiful arrangement of alstroemeria, babies breath, and chrysanthemums and our customer raved about it for months to come.
Sometimes our customers have incredible ideas and it takes a designer with talent and imagination to take the idea and make it a reality. This idea was a floral band with a halo and we couldn’t pass up the chance to always remember how incredible awesome Rose made it.
This wreath was breathtaking. An ordinary grapevine wreath became extraordinary when rose created an arrangement on it of japhet and dendrobium orchids accented by an assortment of tropical greenery.
Rose at her desk in our design room.
It couldn’t always be all work and no play and Rose loved having some fun when our kids would visit. Kyle introduced her to the wonderful world of Ghostbuster figurines.
At some point almost everyday the question of what’s for dinner comes up in our design room. It’s amazing how inspirational it is to hear what everyone else is having and over the years many yummy recipes have been shared. Rose was an incredible designer, but what a cook! Her creativity was also readily apparent in her kitchen where she created delectable dinners, gorgeous cakes, scrumptious appetizers, and much more and made it all look effortless. While I am lucky to have many of her recipes in my recipe box, my favorite is her Carrot Cake. It’s simply divine and I can think of no better way to honor her memory than to share this recipe and hope when you make it you’ll remember Rose…
Rose Korleski’s Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake recipe
2 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1 -1/3 C vegetable oil
2 C. grated carrots
1 C chopped pecans + 1 T
Heat oven to 350 and grease and flour a bundt pan
Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
Mix in oil and eggs and then add carrots and pecans.
Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
When cake is cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans
Cream cheese frosting recipe
1- 8 oz package cream cheese–softened
1/4 C butter
1 t vanilla
2 – 1/2 C powdered sugar.
Cream cream cheese and butter together, beat in sugar until smooth and add vanilla.
Rose and her husband, Dick, at a Kar-Fre parties. They were always such fun at all of our parties.
We will miss you Rose, but are thankful for so many great memories.