Texas A&M says goodbye to longtime director of Benz School of Floral Design


While the flowers have been spread in his memory, the legacy of James “Jim” Johnson will continue to flourish in Benz Floral Design School in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University. Johnson passed away earlier this month.

Johnson was the principal of the Benz School of Floral Design and the Benz Floral Art Gallery with Texas A&M for over 35 years. He was the first person to hold the endowed chair of the Benz School of Floral Design, the only such endowed chair in the world, after being personally invited to be its director by Buddy Benz, creator of the school.

“Jim Johnson was one of the most talented and caring people I have ever worked with,” said Dan Lineberger, head of the Department of Horticultural Sciences. “He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word, and he was totally dedicated to Texas A&M University. A true professional in everything he did, and loved by all of his students and peers.

Johnson brought to the post his extensive knowledge of flower art, his experience in flower retailing and his network as a participating member of state and national flower organizations. He has been a guest designer at symposia and workshops around the world, as well as seminars for garden clubs and florist programs.

His many responsibilities at Texas A&M included serving as Senior Lecturer in Floral Design for the Horticultural Department, Director of the San Jacinto Publishing Company, Director of the Benz Gallery of Floral Art, and Director of Benz School Korea, located in Seoul. , South Korea.

Johnson was a world-renowned educator of floral design and art, influencing generations of floral designers and educators, and was honored with the title of Distinguished Lecturer at Texas A&M.

He retired as director of Benz in 2011, earning the title of Distinguished Lecturer. He remained active in the program and with students for many years afterward, including helping the student chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers celebrate their 40th anniversary last year.

Johnson received his undergraduate degree in floriculture from Michigan State University and later his master’s degree from Texas A&M.

He was a member or leader of the American Institute of Floral Designers, AIFD, Texas State Florists Association, American Academy of Florists, and various garden clubs in College Station.

Johnson received the Distinguished Lecturer honor and the Honor Professor Award. He was also recognized by the Texas State Florists Association and received the AIFD Award for Distinguished Service to the Flower Industry in 1999.

He co-authored reviews for Flowers: Creative Design, wrote five Texas Certified Florist Program programs, and served as an advisor to the American Institute of Floral Designers Student Chapter at Texas A&M.

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