WOOD RIVER - A man who made every Valentine’s Day and other occasion special for more than four decades has died. Jeffrey McElroy, owner of Jeffrey’s Flowers By Design in Wood River, left a lasting impact on the region. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced for the Wood River businessman.

Kristen Burns, a marketing consultant for the City Of Wood River, said Jeffrey was the one who always handled flower arrangements for her kids during homecomings, proms and almost any family event.

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“He was a great guy,” she said. “I adored working with him. I never saw him when he didn’t have a smile on his face.

"His work was always beautiful. He could make a bunch of daisies look beautiful. It was always so nice to see such a friendly face and such a sweet man. It is a huge loss for the community.”

Wood River Mayor Tom Stalcup said Jeffrey was a friend of his family and Wood River in general for many years.

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“He was a great asset to the community of Wood River,” the mayor said. “I am so sorry for his loss. He was always there and always helpful with the City of Wood River. He helped our downtown planners and always looked out for the best interest of our city. I am so sorry for his loss.”

In one of his last interviews with Riverbender.com, Jeffrey said he truly loved working as a florist.

“You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the point of love across,” McElroy said. “One or two flowers can get the point across.”

In that interview, Jeffrey said after he graduated from Alton High he began working in the flower business and then dedicated his life to the industry after he received his horticulture degree from Danville Junior College. Jeffrey loved the design part of the business and he thought at that time that was what separated him from others in the industry.

One of Jeffrey’s biggest philosophies and beliefs about flowers was as follows: “Since the beginning of time, flowers have simply been a way of someone saying I love you.”

The memories of Jeffrey’s work will be treasured for many years to come by not only Wood River residents, but people throughout the area who marveled at his work and kindness.

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