By Chris Levister
THAD, THE FLORAL MINISTER
By definition Thad Mosely is a florist. But to his many
loyal customers he is a Christian servant whose spectacular floral creations of
celebration, comfort, and romance are nothing short of ministry.
Valentine's Day was days away. While most florists labored
in pressure cooker havens of designers, roses, greenery, bows and phones
ringing off the hook, Mosely was a picture of calm outside the sanctuary of Loma Linda
With Associate Dean Fred Kasischke, DMin. looking on florist Thad Mosely finishes one of his floral creations for the School of Dentistry's Dedication Service at Loma Linda University Church.
"I'm applying gold leaf paint to this greenery. It gives the
flowers that dazzling effect."
Mosely had under an hour to ribbon and place his two huge
not Valentine red but gold and purple creations on pedestals in the sanctuary
for the start of the School
of Dentistry's Dedication
Service. "His creations are works of art," says Associate Dean Fred Kasischke,
If you think Mosely was worried about missing out on the
industry's biggest cash haul, think again. Last minute lovers and suitors
couldn't drop in and grab a Valentine bouquet on the run. At Thad's Premier Floral and Gifts there are
no walk-ins and no walls, telephone orders only at (909) 799-1185. When orders
reached a ceiling the phone came off the hook.
"The Valentine bouquets are declarations of love, always
fresh, meticulously trimmed and personally arranged by me. My customers have
come to expect only the best."
Mosely, a Seventh-Day Adventist, says he has chosen to live
his life in a way that brings honor to his family, profession, community and
God. "I am a servant and sometimes that means choosing service and quality over
He recalls one Valentine's Day when everyone in his Loma
Linda shop hadn't slept for days. There were blossoms to order, vases to prep,
bows to tie, and non-stop calls from frantic last minute cupids.
"Bouquets were flying out the door. We sold everything in
the house and then some," he said. That night the reality of owning a small
business hit home.
"After paying the floral wholesalers, suppliers and overtime
to my workers, I made $50.00 in profit. I looked down at my greenery stained
clothes, my eyes were bloodshot, my hands were raw - I called my mother and
cried like a baby. I knew I had to make a choice between big profits or
dedicating my professional life to the service of humanity."
Mosely closed his shop after many years in favor of a
telephone-only business. Although he can create single bouquets, he prefers
custom weddings, sympathy, church services and special events. His gourmet
floral and gift baskets are legendary.
"His work is extraordinary," says Karen Hansberger, M.D.,
former mayor of Loma Linda and member of the University Church.
Mosely's unique creations of exotic and traditional flowers wowed guests at
Hansberger's 2005 wedding and adorn her home during the Christmas holidays.
"His designs instill a deep sense of love, warmth, and celebration."
Mosely has been dabbling in catering, event planning and
floristry since childhood. For several years he worked in the University
Library, his unique designs for staff events drew raves and soon led to a
scholarship with the nationally recognized Teleflora Company. That led to
advanced training in wedding and sympathy work and study with the owners of the
world renown Phil Rulloda's School of Floral Design located in Anaheim.
He takes pride in lecturing members of the local Scottish
community on cultural floristry utilizing traditional flower emblems. "Most
people associate the Scots with plaids. Each family known as a clan has their
own plaid but they also have their own flower emblem." Mosely is also studying
flowers indigenous to Africa. He says floral
arrangements reflecting the African wedding tradition of ‘jumping the broom'
demonstrate the powerful language and history of flowers.
"The red rose is all for love. The yellow rose which in the
17th century represented jealousy today means peace. Pink is all about
Mosely says he is disappointed by the lack of business
clients from the local African-American community. He says despite years of
marketing and charitable giving he is all but overlooked by the areas many
Black churches and minority civic organizations.
"It breaks my heart. I'm a Black man. My creations are
unique and highly lauded, yet among my own people I am largely the ‘go to for a
deal florist'," said Mosely.
He recalls once during a floral setup he was approached by a
group of African-American women. "They wanted to know more about my designs. I
was under pressure to finish the project. I asked them to wait 5 minutes. They
quickly became impatient and walked away vowing to buy flowers from Conroy's, a
Mosely provides weekly service to a local Spanish and an
Indonesian church and has created elaborate arrangements for the NAACP's annual
Pioneer Dinner and the coveted yearly Booker T. Washington luncheon held at the
"His arrangements are spectacular one-of-a-kind creations.
Thad is a dependable and kind servant," said the organizer for both events,
Cheryl Brown, publisher of the Black Voice News.
Mosely who daily prepares hot meals for three local needy
families says his desire to partner with Black churches and minority
organizations is driven by his endeavor to reflect God's mercy and compassion -
not profits. "Yes I have to pay the bills. But in the end my rewards spring
from serving. It's beautiful!"