Longtime local florist and small business owner Mel Tolbert died Sunday at age 79 after an accident involving local businessman Trevor Dierdorff.
Tolbert was hospitalized last Tuesday after being struck by a vehicle being driven by Dierdorff, who was reportedly backing into a parking spot on N. Tejon and did not see Tobert crossing behind him.
Tolbert is most well known as the owner of Platte Floral (1417 E. Platte Ave.), which he had owned more than 35 years. Dierdorff is founder and CEO of local tech firm Amnet and chairs the El Paso County Republican Party.
The two local businessmen were reportedly friends and were heading to the El Paso Club for a breakfast meeting. No charges have been filed in the accident that led to Tolbert’s death.
A memorial service for Tolbert is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday at First Christian Church (16 E. Platte Ave.) in downtown Colorado Springs, according to an obituary at thespringsfuneralservices.com.
According to the obituary, Tolbert was born Aug. 31, 1937 in Elmira, N.Y. to parents Jessie and Josephine Tolbert. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army and is survived by Dianna, his wife of 48 years, and three brothers: Vernon, Irving and Frank Tolbert.
Mary Ellen Morgan, one of Tolbert’s nieces, commented below the obituary: “Mel was a wonderful uncle, brother, and friend to many. I will always remember his beginning days at Rudy’s Greenhouse in Elmira, New York.”
Tolbert moved to Colorado Springs in 1979 and began working at Platte Floral the same year. The business had been in operation locally since 1921, and in 1981 Tolbert became its owner.
In the days since the accident, Colorado Springs social media channels have been filled with kind words and memories from friends and family members of Tolbert’s, many of whom mentioned his charitable works, his kind demeanor and his dedication to providing quality floral arrangements locally.
According to Platte Floral management, those involved with the business are declining to comment.