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Son carries on family Christmas poinsettia tradition after losing dad to cancer

Three years after losing his grandfather, Tyler Orban forges on at the family farm.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Last Saturday, more than 200 people showed up for Marty Orban’s celebration of life. The mainstay in the Bradenton area, because of his colorful Christmas poinsettias, died after a long battle with cancer on Nov. 6.

Marty, 68, fought cancer hard. He had surgery to remove two-thirds of his lung one day after his wedding four years ago. He endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

“When they did his last scan, when that was done, it wasn’t long afterward,” his son Tyler said.

It’s the second time Tyler, 28, has lost a loved one just before Christmas. Three years ago, Bill, Tyler’s grandpa, died at the age of 91. He moved the poinsettia business to Florida from Ohio five decades ago. Overall, a century of flowers have passed through an Orban’s hands.

From now on, those hands will only be Tyler’s.

“Christmas will be the toughest,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of poinsettias will leave the Orban farm in the next two weeks. November 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be the nursery’s annual drive-thru sale where community members can go to buy brightly colored poinsettias before they are shipped off to retailers all over the country.

Tyler expects hundreds to sell that day.

“I see him in every poinsettia that there is here,” he said of his dad. “It’s kind of weird but it’s kind of nice at the same time I guess.”

A busy season is a good season. It’s something Marty always knew. In 2016, when asked what Tyler would be like running the business one day he replied, “Better than his dad”.

It’s a reality Tyler didn’t want to come so soon but is hoping to make good on to carry on a family legacy and tradition in Manatee county.

“It’s a lot of work but he loved it and I loved it and still do,” Tyler said. “He told me he was proud. That’s all I needed.”

Orban’s Nursery is located at 9601 9th Avenue NW in Bradenton.

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