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Waltonwood Resident Highlight: Former teacher’s husband owned well-known floral shop

Former teacher and avid traveler Phyllis Stein recently celebrated her 90th birthday with her Waltonwood family, and we are delighted to share her story.

Phyllis was born July 16, 1927 in Ypsilanti, Michigan and raised in  Denton, Michigan.

Her father worked for Ford Motor Co., and her mother was a homemaker. Phyllis attended elementary school locally, but went to Belleville High School via bus transportation, graduating in 1945. She attended high school with a handful of other Waltonwood residents, and she is familiar with several others. 

She then attended Michigan State College and was a student there when it became a university. She graduated in 1949 with a bachelor of science in home economics.

During her time at MSU, she met her husband-to-be, Howard Stein. They were married on Aug. 5, 1950, one year after she began teaching. She taught cooking in Belleville for three years before leaving to start a family. She had two sons, Mark and Scott.

Howard’s father started Stein’s Flower Shop and Greenhouse in 1926. The greenhouse was located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Lilley Road in Canton. They grew almost all of the flowers, except roses. After Howard graduated from Michigan State in 1949, he was the designer in the retail store. The boys helped in the store and greenhouse. Phyllis helped by answering telephone calls and working as a cashier during the busy holiday seasons.

In 1963, when her boys were a little older, she decided to go back into teaching. She taught half-day kindergarten for a few years, and two years later had her third son, Todd. By the end of her career, she was teaching full-day kindergarten. She retired in 1987, altogether teaching for 21 years! 

The greenhouse was sold in 1984, and the “Keller & Stein” store can be found on Canton Center Road to this day.

Phyllis and Howard traveled to all seven continents and more than 100 countries, visiting places like Thailand, Antarctica, China, India, the Philippines, Turkey, Italy, and Mongolia! Their vacations lasted one to two weeks when the children were young, but at times they would travel for three to six weeks per location. For example, they spent six weeks in Australia and New Zealand! Phyllis said she does not have a favorite place because they all have their own unique qualities.

After more than 53 years of marriage, Howard passed away suddenly after a heart attack in 2004. 

Phyllis later continued to travel with her family, including to visit their son Scott in Oregon, to explore Yellowstone, and take a few cruises. 

She moved to Waltonwood in 2016, where she enjoys meeting kind people, participating in the activities, and not having to cook or clean. Phyllis's 96-year-old sister, Jean, now lives here as well, and Phyllis enjoys having her nearby.

When Phyllis turned 90, a party was held at Rose's Restaurant with about 50 guests. She made herself a Shutterfly picture book of her favorite pictures and memories.

She says she has had a great life! The advice she would like to give others is: "Be kind to everybody, and have a good laugh everyday."

Caption: Waltonwood resident Phyllis Stein, 92, created a picture book that represents her travels to places such as Thailand, Antarctica, China, and India.

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