Paul Seils, owner of historic suburban flower shop, dies at 72
Paul Seils, owner of one of the Northwest suburbs' longest-standing businesses and an active volunteer in Mount Prospect, died Thursday at his Arlington Heights home.
Seils, 72, grew up in Mount Prospect, and attended St. Paul Lutheran School. where he would meet his future wife of nearly 50 years, the former Linda Busse.
The marriage culminated a romance that flourished when the two as high schoolers joined a church youth group for a trip to Riverview amusement park in Chicago. Linda said her mother, a chaperone on the trip, told another parent, "I would give my right arm if my daughter could date Paul Seils."
After graduating from Prospect High School and then Northern Illinois University with a marketing degree, Seils married Linda and considered some out-of-state job opportunities.
But his new wife told him she could not leave her family. So instead, he went to work for the family business, Busse's Flowers & Gifts.
"Even before I said that to him, my dad offered him a job at the shop," Linda Seils said Sunday. "He said, 'OK, I can go to work for your dad,' and so that's how he got in the flower business."
The couple would go on to own the iconic downtown Mount Prospect flower shop, which opened in 1916, a year before the village's official incorporation. It remained there until earlier this year, when the family moved the shop to Rolling Meadows.
"Most people thought he was a Busse," Linda said. "Oftentimes, people would call him Paul Busse. He would correct them and say, 'She's the Busse. I'm just the in-law.' That was his favorite line."
When Paul entered the business, he attended a floral design school to learn the basics of the trade. In time, he became an able designer and his career blossomed. He even taught classes in floral design at the Mount Prospect Public Library.
Paul Seils also served as an avid volunteer around Mount Prospect, including as president of the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the village's Special Events Commission and Sister Cities Commission.
He remained active with St. Paul Lutheran Church and the Lions and Jaycees clubs, as well as his college fraternity, Sigma Nu.
"He just liked doing things for people and loved people," Linda said. "Everybody loved Paul. Everybody loved his smile, his outgoing personality. He was always willing to do anything for anybody."
If the flower business was his trade, Seils' passion was cars, including everything from muscle cars to Indy racers. He attended the Indianapolis 500 for 50 consecutive years.
Paul was a regular at Mount Prospect's weekend Bluesmobile Cruise Nights car shows, and his own car collection included a 1966 Corvair and a 1972 Chevelle Super Sport Convertible. He often drove the shop's 1936 Dodge panel truck and the Corvair in Mount Prospect's July 4 parade.
Although he was battling prostate cancer, Seils was able to attend the 2020 Rolex 24 in January, at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
In addition to Linda, Seils is survived by three children and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one child.
Services have been set for Thursday, with visitation at 10 a.m. and the funeral at 11 a.m. at Friedrichs Funeral Home in Mount Prospect. Burial will be at St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery. For more information, contact Friedrichs at (847) 255-7800.