By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
DELHI TWP. - Flowers and community service were Louis "Lee" Lutz's life.
A charter 66-year member of the Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis Club, he had been in the flower business even longer - since helping his father convert an old brewery to a flower shop in South Fairmount at age 13.
Even after he sold his store in the mid-1970s to two of his sons, he continued to water the flowers and putter around the greenhouse. The store is now on Glenway Avenue in Price Hill.
Mr. Lutz, 96, died Tuesday at Western Hills Retirement Village in Delhi. For decades, his was a familiar West Side face.
"Once you met Lee, you were no longer a stranger," said his son Lou Lutz of Delhi. "He became friends with so many people in business and throughout the community."
Mr. Lutz served as Cheviot's recreation commissioner during the 1950s and as chairman of the Harvest Home Festival flower show. He also had served as grand marshal of that venerable festival's parade, and he produced the flower show at the Carthage Fair for 30 years.
During the 1960s, he was chairman of the St. Francis Hospital festival.
After their father purchased the old Hofmeister Brewery in South Fairmount, Mr. Lutz and his four brothers helped turn the building into a store and raised flowers in a greenhouse they established.
Because Mr. Lutz went to work, he didn't get past the eighth grade. But he believed education was important and put his own four boys through college.
A resident of the Western Hills Retirement Village for the past seven years, Mr. Lutz was considered the unofficial greeter there.
Assuming a post at the first floor nursing station, he would greet every passerby. The regular visitors knew him as "Mr. Lee."
He was a member of the Cheviot Firemen's Association, the Fraternal Order of Elks and St. Luke's Evangelical Church.
His wife, Ella Toepfer Lutz, died in 1992.
In addition to his son Lou, survivors include three other sons, Joe of Jamestown, Ky., Ron of Port Clyde, Maine, and Ellis of Norman, Ind.; 11 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Visitation is 5-9 p.m. Monday at Gump-Holt Funeral Home, 3440 Glenmore Ave., Cheviot. The funeral is 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Baltimore Pike Cemetery in Westwood.
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