Sam Levine Flowers for the Living Award
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2014 - Johnny Petraglia, Manalapan, NJ

2013 - John Sommer, Rockford, IL

2012 - Bill Lillard, Houston, TX

2011 - Jim Dressel, Chicago, IL

2010
- Paula Carter, Miami, FL



2009
- Elaine Hagin, Castro Valley, CA

2008 - Carmen Salvino, Shaumburg, IL

2007 - Lenny Nicholson, Tucson, AZ

2006 - Walt Steinsiek, Micco, FL

2005 - Pearl Keller, Chappaqua, NY

2004 - Jeanette Robinson, Las Vegas, NV

2003 - Dick Stoeffler, Las Vegas, NV

2002 - Glenn Allison, Whittier, CA

2001 - Tom Kouros, Libertyville, IL

2000 - Wayne Todd, Denver, CO


1999 - Chris Schenkel, Leesburg, IN

1998 - Jack Reichert, Lake Forest, IL

1996 - Bob Zellner, Stony Brook, NY;  Angelo Biondo, Chicago, IL

1995 - Augie Karcher, Winona, MN

1993 - Millie Ignizio, Rochester, NY

1992 - Earl Anthony, Cornelius, OR

1991 - Jim Bennett Jr., Muskegon, MI

1990 - Helen Duval, Berkeley, CA
 

1989 - Pat McDonough

1988 - Helen Baker, Cocoa Beach, FL

1987 - Joe Lyou, Los Angeles, CA

1986 - Don Carter, Miami, FL

1985 - John Jowdy, San Antonio, TX

1982 -1984 - Award was not given due to the death of the originator, Sam Levine

1981 - Byron Schoeman, Satellite Beach, FL

1980 - Bill Doehrman, Ft. Wayne, IN


1979 - Dick Weber, St. Louis, MO

1978 - Lee Evans, Miami, FL;  Emma Phaler, Miami, FL

1977 - Eddie Elias, Akron, OH

1976 - Chuck Pezzano, Clifton, NJ

1975 - Fred Wolf, Detroit, MI

1974 - Mort Luby Jr., Chicago, IL

1973 - Bill Hengen, Minneapolis, MN;  Alberta E. Crowe, Liverpool, NY

1972 - Sam Levine, Cleveland, OH

1971 - Frank Baker, Milwaukee, WI;  Hank Marino, Milwaukee, WI

 

1969 - Frank Sczepanski, Flint, MI

1968 - Bruce Pluckhahn, Milwaukee, WI

1967 - Tom Bolger, Toledo, OH;  Steve Cruchon, Detroit, MI

1966 - Billy Sixty, Milwaukee, WI

1965 - Marion Ladewig, Grand Rapids, MI

1964 - Joe Norris, Chicago, IL

1963 - Sam Weinstein, Chicago, IL;  John O. Martino, Syracuse, NY

1962 - Joe Smolen, Milwaukee, WI

1961 - Fritz Howell, Columbus, OH
 

 
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Although not an official IBMA award, the Flowers for the Living Award is one of the sport's most coveted forms of recognition.  The award was created in 1961 by Cleveland Kegler publisher Sam Levine and a small group of newspapermen.  It was inspired by a poem written by one of the founders, Ohio Associated Press editor Fritz Howell.  His poem, “Flowers for the Living” suggests that deserving people be honored “while they are still alive to smell the flowers.”  The award remains in the custody of a "secretive panel" which prides itself on making surprise presentations to unsuspecting recipients; and no recipient has been more surprised than Howell was when he received the first bouquet.
Flowers for the Living - by Fritz Howell
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Flowers for the Living   

by Fritz Howell

It seems that when a fellow dies, no matter what he’s been,

A saintly chap or one whose life was darkly steeped in sin -

That folks forget the bitter words they spoke but yesterday

And seem to find a multitude of pretty things to say.

 

And maybe when I go to rest, someone will bring to light

Some kindly word or goodly act, long buried out of sight,

But if it’s all the same to you, just give to me instead,

The bouquets while I’m living, and the knocking when I’m dead.

 

Don’t save your kisses to imprint upon my noble brow,

While countless maledictions are hurled upon me now.

Just say a kindly word to me, as I mourn here alone,

And don’t save all your eulogy to carve upon a stone.

 

What do I care if, when I’m gone, the whole newspaper world

Gives me a glowing writeup and the nation’s flags are furled?

Why, it won’t flatter me a bit, no matter what is said,

So kindly throw your flowers now, and knock me when I’m dead.

 

It may be fine, when one is gone, to have folks talk so,

And have the flowers come in loads from all the guys you know.

It must be nice to have these things for those you leave behind

But, so far as I’m concerned, I really will not mind.

 

I’m quite alive and well today, and while I linger here,

Give me a helping hand at times, give me a word of cheer.

Let’s change the game a bit, just sorta swab the decks,

For I will be no judge of flowers, when I cash in my checks.

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