As a successful entrepreneur and decorator, Louise Lloyd created window treatments and fine draperies for the rich and famous of St. Louis. Now in retirement, she is creating beauty and goodwill in the Greenway Village South community of Royal Palm Beach.
Her big heart and green thumb are behind a half-dozen modest volunteer gardening projects now gracing Greenway Village. She is also responsible for the well-received “joy” sign that now graces the community’s entrance each holiday season.
“To me, her sign says it all. Louise Lloyd brings joy to Greenway. She is a sweetheart who cares about our community. The lady is always doing something to beautify our neighborhood or help her neighbors,” said John Schaefer, a retired print manager from New York and former board member in the community.
At 76 years old, weighing in at 88 pounds, Lloyd is a force of nature.
“Life is too short to just sit around. I like to stay active, and the best way for me to stay active is trying to help spread joy and beauty in the community, using plants and flowers,” she said. “When you are old, and some of us are sick, it’s just much nicer to gaze out the window at some lovely orchids, rather than a bald spot where landscaping used to be.”
At 99 years old, Miriam Levinson receives a daily dose of joy, as she appreciates the beautiful plantings Lloyd did near her entrance. Her granddaughter Sara Altschuler spoke on her behalf.
“My grandmother is one of the original owners when Greenway was built,” she said. “The original landscaping here was so beautiful.”
Much of it was destroyed by hurricanes over the past two decades. “There are lots of barren spots where beautiful plants used to be,” Altschuler said. “Now, every day, grandma sees and comments on the little pieces of beauty that Louise gifts our community with love.”
Neighbor Jan Lamca also appreciates her work.
“I am a plant nut. Louise is a gifted gardener, and I have been impressed at her work, especially the little garden near our entrance that seems to be taking shape nicely, really complementing the nearby Royal Poinciana that is currently in bloom,” Lamca said. “She and Robert do such nice work, accenting the natural beauty of Greenway.”
Lamca was referring to Robert Covetskie, who is working with Lloyd in trying to organize a Greenway Gardening Club.
“Two years ago, I started to see this tiny lady around the community planting flowers or raking leaves or weeding, so I walked up to her one day and asked if she needed help,” said Covetskie, a retired international banker who admits that he once wanted to be a landscape architect. “Now, Louise and I are best friends and gardening buddies.”
Lloyd was raised in an orphanage until age 5, adopted by a loving family, and had no knowledge about her birth family until her older sister contacted her 39 years after her adoption.
“I had a successful drapery and decorating business in Missouri near Joplin, and I was so delighted when a birth sister contacted me out of the blue,” Lloyd recalled. “She was already in Royal Palm Beach, and I retired here to be close to her before she passed six years ago.”
Covetskie enjoys spending time with his gardening partner.
“Louise is a beautiful person inside and out. Working alongside her on our little projects has been almost a spiritual experience,” he said. “There is such wonderful light inside Louise’s heart.”
Perhaps that is due to a change that happened within Lloyd decades ago.
“I had a near death experience where I left my body on the operating table and was greeted with a comforting prism of colors,” she recalled. “All of my questions were answered. I was in the presence of the peace that passes all understanding.”
Louise went on to explain, “My faith was almost political before, but I learned that God is so much bigger than human institutions. It’s very simple: a happy life is about being loving and kind.”
Neighbor Susan Grohmann appreciates the enhancements.
“Louise and Robert work very hard for free, sometimes taking money from their own pockets to beautify for their neighbors,” she said. “For them, it’s a labor of love. Greenway South is much more cheerful and livable due to their efforts. I used to have to look out my windows at a barren spot where landscaping used to be. Now I see growing, vibrant, thriving plants every day. Plus, their ‘joy’ sign was so positive, uplifting and inclusive. They are such nice neighbors and assets to all of Greenway.”