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Family remembers life, legacy of Stanley's Greenhouse founder

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The life of a Knoxville businessman is being remembered. Charles Stanley, Sr. turned his family farm into an operation that brought beauty to his neighbors, having flowers year-round. Stanley passed away this week at 98.

"He put what he loved into what he did," said Lisa Stanley, Charles Stanley's daughter-in-law.

She says there's a love and an art to growing flowers but it's Charles Stanley's love of nature they still see inside Stanley's Greenhouse.

Starting this legacy was not easy and Charles Stanley's family says it's what made him the man that he was.

"He had to get us here. It was those years of just really, it being hard. Working full-time at Fulton's Sylphon then coming home and working the greenhouse hours at night to try and have plants available the next day," said Lisa Stanley.

Family says Charles Stanley put his retirement money into each greenhouse. The first one built in 1955 which is still used today.

"They would build one house, pay it off, build another house, pay it off to get us where we are now which is our Dutch Venlo house which is our most automated and it's on computer," said Lisa Stanley.

The range of technology in each greenhouse shows how the locally owned business grew through the years.

"He formed his sequence of what he could grow each season in order to keep the place going. The poinsettias at Christmas time, bringing on spring, and then of course summer zinnias, mums in the fall, pansies and then poinsettias again," added Lisa Stanley.

Growing the business over the years was a labor of love. Family saying it was Charles Stanley's prayer for his sons to be able to work at the greenhouse full-time.

Now that Charles Stanley has passed away, family says they're finding peace in that he's in heaven and he left a legacy with strong roots. 

"I think he is seeing it and I think it'll make him happy," said Lisa Stanley.

Kathryn Callaway, vice president of the Knoxville Garden Club, says over the years the group has had a close relationship with the family and Stanley's Greenhouse by partnering for events and plant sales.

Callaway calls Charles Stanley's passing a big loss,."

I think he should be very proud. Ninety-eight and he has a legacy with Stanley's and has fine family and friends that have supported him," she said.

The Stanley family will be receiving friends Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Berry's Funeral Home on Chapman Highway. Charles Stanley will be laid to rest Monday morning at Woodlawn Cemetery.


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