James F. Gaunt, a floral industry leader and former owner of Southview Inc. Wholesale Florist (now Mayesh) in Romulus, MI, died April 26 at age 86.
Mr. Gaunt worked with his father in the family floral business (Southview) as a young boy, then after graduating from high school, serving in the Navy, and earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan, he partnered in the floral business until it became his in 1960 when his dad retired.
In the 1970s and 80s, he was an active member and president of several floral associations including the Wholesale Florists and Floral Suppliers of America, the Michigan State Floral Association and the Detroit Allied Florists. He was also a board member of the Society of American Florists and served as a member of the National Promo Flor Council.
Mr. Gaunt sold Southview to his three sons when he turned 65, but continued to participate in the business for many years. In 2010 the Michigan Floral Association presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.