A Tribute to Link Johnsten

For 40 years, Link Johnsten, the owner and artist of Eau Gallie Florist, made weddings spectacular. After the sudden loss of a creative visionary, the community felt the void he left immediately. He was 63.

Besides weddings, Link and his wife Alexis made events around the county and the country beautiful — birthday and dinner parties, fundraising galas and luncheons. He also worked with the Academy Awards Design Team and the White House during the holidays.

A Tribute to Link Johnsten

Link with his wife Alexis

Link was born in Canton, Ohio and moved to Eau Gallie as a young child. He graduated from Eau Gallie High School. A fixture in the Eau Gallie area, a community where he lived and worked his whole life, Link started working for the original owner of Eau Gallie Florist, Mrs. Jackson, when he was in high school. Link and his wife Alexis purchased Eau Gallie Florist in 1976.

“Link was very fortunate to be able to work every day at something that he truly loved,” Alexis said. “He also was very aware that he had been given a special talent from God to represent nature at its best.”

Darcia Jones Francey met Link not long after he moved to the area. Both were in grade school at the time and their families met at church. She remembers when he was a Boy Scout and she would playfully tease him in his Boy Scout uniform. Years later, he did the flowers at her wedding, rehearsal dinner and pre-nuptial parties.

“Link and Alexis had purchased Eau Gallie Florist at the beginning of the year,” Darcia said. “We spent months and days planning the flowers. He was so patient, understanding and creative.”

This friendship continued throughout the years, planning most of the large community fundraisers and galas in Brevard, literally working on hundreds of events together, big and small.

Link’s talent was exceptional and his creativity was innovative, imaginative, original, clever and ingenious. His floral and holiday designs could always be found in the most discerning homes in Brevard County.

Link was always on top of the latest colors, trends and designs for each coming year — always ahead of the trends.  He had a natural ability to make everything beautiful. His product was always finished to perfection. The sky was the limit with his creativity. His designs ran the gamut — traditional, elegant, edgy, funky — he could do it all.

A Tribute to Link Johnsten

Link Johnsten

Link was proud that he was part of the Academy Awards Design Team, the Rose Bowl Design Team and invited many times to the White House to be part of the Christmas and Holiday Design Team to decorate the White House.  He was at the White House in December 2014.

“When I first started in the wedding industry, I met Link at an event only to discover that this was the same man who operated his florist shop next to my childhood home. He was kind to me as a child, and as a professional in the same industry he became my mentor,” said DJ Shane with DJ Shane Entertainment. “Link inspired me and showed me that just because we live in Brevard County doesn’t mean you can’t do big things. He worked events at the White House and the Academy Awards, but he was humble and never once bragged about it. He let his work speak for itself and never looked down on people who were just starting out. I miss him dearly but am thankful for our time together.” 

Besides his professional accomplishments, Link was also well-known for his generosity and his countless hours of volunteer work. Link was the founder and chairman of Artworks, an art show that is on Highland Avenue in Eau Gallie. He chaired the Eau Gallie Arts District Main Street design committee, and he worked on events like the EGAD In Bloom, Flower & Garden Festival. He served as chairman of Eau Gallie’s Community Redevelopment Agency advisory board.

A Tribute to Link Johnsten

Link and his friend, Darcia

Most who speak about Link say he was one of the most generous people they have known.  He always believed in giving back to his community that he loved. His door was always open to anyone who walked into his shop. Every day local community leaders or fellow board members could be found in Link’s office discussing local topics or board matters. Link was a very clear thinker, level headed, and a loyal and faithful friend to many in the community.

“Link was a creative force in our community and a wonderful partner and friend to the Health First Foundation for many years,” said Terry Mohr, president, Health First Foundation. 

“Just this past April, Link and his team worked tirelessly to transform the Clemente Center into an African safari for our Health First Foundation Benefit Ball to benefit cancer services. The night was a huge success and Link was an integral part of our team. We were deeply saddened to learn of his passing. He will be greatly missed by everyone here at the Health First Foundation.” 

From a personal standpoint, Darcia believes that Link would feel his greatest accomplishments were that he was a loving, caring and devoted husband, father and grandfather.  

Alexis, his wife of 42 years, his son Christopher Johnsten, daughters Jennifer Johnsten and Elizabeth Grezaffi and grandchildren Jet Tyler and Lilyann were the joy of his life.  Eau Gallie Florist continues on today under the leadership of Alexis and her creative staff. They carry on his legacy in the floral business.

This article appears in the July 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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