Mabel M. Simmons was a leader in the Florida ornamental horticulture industry for nearly 50 years. Born in 1917 in Ohio, Mabel Claprood went to work for a wholesale florist in 1934, and by 1939, she was president of Roman J. Claprood Co., in Columbus, Ohio. She later served as president of company operations in Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, and Alabama. She married Elsworth G. Simmons and they raised their family in Ruskin, Fla. Simmons was the first woman to operate a gladiola farm in Florida, and was at one time, the largest flower producer in the state. She served as the first woman president of the Florida Flower Association and was on the board for 24 years. She served as chairman of the American Floral Endowment and was on its board of directors for 12 years and was also on the board of the Agribusiness Institute of Florida.