Community members remember Shirley Whittle

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 9:58 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Community members say they were shocked to hear about the murder of Shirley Whittle, a well-known florist in the Callaway area.

According to the Bay County Sheriff’s office, Shirley was stabbed to death Thursday night. The suspect is her grandson, Theron Whittle.

Her husband, Buddy Whittle, was reportedly also stabbed and is recovering in the hospital.

“This morning finding out about everything was just an absolute shock. We could not believe it happened this close to home and to someone like that,” Lauren Keele, the Whittle’s neighbor, said.

Outside of the Whittle’s home on Friday, were several bouquets of flowers, in memory of the florist who tragically lost her life.

“It is very surreal how everything just happened so fast. I am sure she would have a beautiful arrangement to make up for this type of situation. But I think the flowers are some of the most appropriate things to leave for her,” Keele said.

Shirley is best known for her floral arrangements at her shop, Callaway County Florist. Shirley had to shut the doors of that business after Hurricane Michael but it was open for more than 30 years.

NewsChannel 7 sat down with Shirley in 2019 when she was invited to decorate the White House for Christmas, you can watch that story here.

But D.C. was not the only place that recognized her talent. Shirley’s neighbor for decades said she could always count on her for floral arrangements, even when it came down to the flowers for her daughter’s weddings.

“She did a really nice job. She was very careful and did a real good job of arranging things beautifully with good colors,” Jean Olson, a neighbor, said.

Many could only recall good things about Shirley and said a piece will be missing on Colonial Drive, the place she called home for decades.

“She was always constantly checking up on people making sure that everybody was okay. She knew what was going on and how to help them and that is what she really cared about,” Keele said.

Shirley’s husband Buddy is recovering in the hospital, according to BCSO. Community members said they will be there for him when he returns home.

“Buddy we are so sorry. So unbelievably sorry that this happened, and we wish you all the best. We hope that we can help you readjust to this and do what we can do for you,” Olson said.

For more information about the case, click here.