A Tribute To:
Walter August Floriani Jr


1955-2020

He Was Our Teacher, He Was Our Motivator, He Was Our Inspiration, He Was My Friend!

Yes, it is with a heavy heart that I must share the news of a fallen warrior for the Commercial and the Home Embroiderer. I can recount the times I heard him tell audiences of 20 to 500 people, “I don’t care what you use, I care about what you know!” Walter Floriani’s words came from his heart, and he proved it so many times. This is just one of the reasons why he was presented with the prestigious award that was named after his father, “The Floriani Award” that was presented annually by Stitches Inc. to Individuals who had made a positive Impact In The Embroidery Industry, and Walter Floriani Jr, was one of those amazing people. As the son of Swiss immigrants, Walter Jr was born into embroidery royalty with the Floriani name, but as he said himself, “While I have much pride in the fame they enjoyed because of their innovation, their passion and dedication, I am more proud of the reputation they gained out of their desire to share what they knew with others.”

I met Walter two decades ago and I, like nearly everyone who ever heard him speak, was instantly mesmerized by him. Even when Walter ventured into subjects that were significantly above my understanding, my attention was captivated by his sincere interest in helping his audience become better embroiderers. It wasn’t an attempt to help them make more money, although he helped many individuals as well as large corporations develop embroidery methods that made them more successful, but Walter’s strongest desire was to help Home Embroiderers produce better Embroidery.

When my wife and I decided to leave the Sewing Retail World and founded RNK Distributing we approach Walter about using his, and his amazing Ancestors, name for our products. Not only did Walter agree, but offered to help us produce a superior line of Embroidery Products.

As Embroidery was introduced to the Home Sewing Industry, Walter saw that embroidery had come full circle, back from the larger businesses and commercial industries, in a return to the home embroiderers: The hobbyists, the crafters, the families, just as he and his family had started. This was his chance, in Walter’s eyes, this is what his grandfather and father had readied him for since he was a boy climbing on the huge embroidery machines of the 1950’s. To share the family secrets that they had learned through generational labor and passion with the wide base of embroiderers who wanted to learn.

Working with RNK, Walter Floriani traveled more and reached more people through educational events than ever before. As proud as he was of the professionals he had taught, he especially loved these events, and this is where most memories of him will carry on from. The expert techniques he taught with an ever-friendly smile and paternal patience. The samples of Floriani Family Lace he brought with him on the road for home embroiderers to touch for themselves and see what their favorite hobby could produce. The stories he would tell in that warm voice, like you were in family den instead of a classroom.

Walter Floriani Jr made embroiderers feel like family, because embroidery WAS family to the Floriani’s.

While my business associate and one of my most admired friends may now be gone, his name and his Legacy will live on. It will live on in the amazing stabilizers, thread, and especially the Embroidery Software that wears his name. Walter will continue to fulfill his most earnest desire, to help Home Embroiderers produce Beautiful Embroidery.

With prayers and sympathy,
Ricky Brooks

Below are words from those whom Walter Jr had met, worked with, and taught. They reached out to us to share their memories and condolences. You also can join in the remembrance on our Facebook page.

So well stated...

As you know I lost my mom when she was just 65, and my dad a few years later. Today is ten years to the day since we buried my mom, yet in reading this I can hear her say “I just love that Walter....” Both my parents loved when Walter would come through Muskogee, as did our customers in all locations.

Walter touched our lives in an amazing way; way deeper than embroidery. He was entertaining, he was educational, but he was real — and really fun! One of my fondest memories will always be the year he had done almost 1/2 million during his road trip through BSI. After the last event in Tulsa, I took him and DJ to dinner — we were enjoying the appetizer tray of Alaskan Crab Legs, Lobster etc...when we devised the plan to call Ricky and tell him how “horrible” the events had been. He giggled and said “call him, call him....” and of course, we did and after Ricky regained his composure, Walter laughed and said “brother, just had to give you a hard time...”

The conversation continued as he shared his passion not only for embroidery and events, but his true love for Ricky and Kay — and his love for his family. With the biggest of smiles, he shared about his daughters, and the one who was married at Disney. He loved his families but Ricky and Kay, he too loved and respect both of you beyond words.

I know your heart is heavy tonight...our hearts are in pain with you. My mom passed on March 2nd and we celebrated her life on March 5th — here we are 10 years later, and I’m positive as he arrived in heaven today she again said “ I just love that Walter!”

Thanks for sharing Walter with us for many years and allowing us to know him. Our prayers are with you, the RNK family and most of all, his family.

Thanks
Mary Hess, Owner of B-Sew Inn, 3/5/20


Dear Ricky & Kay

Oh my this is such sad news for you guys and Walter's Family our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Thank you for letting us know, it was a big shock getting this email.

What a awesome and amazing man - though we only met him a few times at VDTA in Vegas, he was so friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and just a really nice guy and so young to leave now; especially when we all, still have so much to learn.

We will remember him, his name and legacy in the wonderful software, fabulous stabilizers & awesome threads he created with you guys! in every stitch we sew and every design we create. Thank you for sharing him with us and the world. God Bless and RIP Walter.

Our love and best wishes to you both and all at RNK

Best regards
Karen, David & Mum
EME Australia, 3/11/20


Team, Walter Floriani came to all our stores in Louisiana even before we expanded to Texas. 
He mesmerized our crowded in-store events with embroidery and digitizing knowledge and inspirations to all our customers, teachers and staff. He was and is the Guru of Digitizing.  
He brought his book of embroidery lace samples from his family business that were 100 years old. I hear he still had a warehouse full of these embroidered laces. 
He pioneered allowance for so many millimeters for overlap of colors blocks in digitizing software to make sure there was no gaps in the finished product.  
Hugs and Stitches back Walter's extended family. And thanks to Ricky and Kay Brooks of RNK for sharing  Walter with us for so many years. 

 John and Annette Douthat of Allbrands   3/6/20


We are so sorry to hear this news.  We were looking forward to meeting him and learning from him.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Floriani family, friends and employees.

Linda Weaver & Employees of  Linda Marie’s LLC   3/7/20


Walter was a great man. I love the software he created.  He was a passionate man for embroidery.  I will miss him saying "Hugs and Stitches".

Charlotte  3/8/20


Mr. Brooks,
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Floriani Jr.  What a great tribute to a wonderful man.
Sincerely,
Donna D.  3/7/20


God bless Walter! He shared the gifts You gave him with all his sewing friends. He was one of Your wonderful creatures. We will miss him. 
Dorothy   3/7/20


Walter was the best, I was fortune enough to attend two of this classes and learned so much, having fun at the same time.  The embroidery world will miss our great educator 
Virginia W.  3/7/20


So, so sorry to hear this. He will be greatly missed and I am sorry he didn’t get to see his Medicare year, like me – also a 1955 baby and of Dutch decent, and enjoy it. I love his products. They make embroidering fun as my projects all turn out SO nice. Thanks Walter!! We love you and miss you.
Joyce D.   3/7/20


This tribute was beautifully written.  I wish I had been able to have heard him speak.

I came to home embroidery only 5 years ago and am so thankful that I was directed to your products.  I am proud to say that I ONLY use Floriani thread and stabilizers.  They are the best that I have seen.  I love the sheen that I see in the designs with your beautiful thread. The finished designs seem to “jump” off the material and become “alive”.

Thank you for continually producing great products and for having pride in your name and legacy of your great company.

Lynn M. 3/6/20


I am so sorry to hear this!  I was among the fortunate to have been in one of his classes.  In that one day event I had many ah-ha moments that helped make embroidery more enjoyable and helped make the finished product more appealing to me (we are own worst critics!)  The world of embroidery has lost a phenomenal leader, teacher and creative force.  in his honor, we will go on and be better for having had the opportunity to have known him...
Sandra T. 3/6/20


Team, Walter Floriani came to all our stores in Louisiana even before we expanded to Texas. 
He mesmerized our crowded in-store events with embroidery and digitizing knowledge and inspirations to all our customers, teachers and staff. He was and is the Guru of Digitizing.  
He brought his book of embroidery lace samples from his family business that were 100 years old. I hear he still had a warehouse full of these embroidered laces. 
He pioneered allowance for so many millimeters for overlap of colors blocks in digitizing software to make sure there was no gaps in the finished product.  
Hugs and Stitches back Walter's extended family. And thanks to Ricky and Kay Brooks of RNK for sharing  Walter with us for so many years. 

 John and Annette Douthat of Allbrands   3/6/20


FUN club for Life!!!!
In tears,
Annette C. 3/6/20


My deepest condolences, Walter will be greatly missed.    I had the pleasure of attending a few of his seminars and admire all he has done for the home and business embroiderers.

Nancy Z. 3/6/20


Hi Ricky,  it is very sad to see such an amazing person as Walter pass on and so young. 

Living in Australia, I didn’t get to meet him but absolutely love the Floriani software and embroidery, it’s like having wings to fly, I can create so much.

Please pass on my condolences to his family and friends the staff he worked with.

Regards
Pamela C. 3/6/20


I truly and saddened to hear need of Walters passing. He truly was an amazing man. I learned so much from him. I loved it when he would come to the B Sew Inn store in Oklahoma city.
Joan L. 3/5/20


Thank you for sharing the information on Walt.  We share you sadness and rejoice in all he did for the embroidery users.

Evelyn .L.  3/5/20


Sending my deepest sympathy to the family and all who knew Walter.  I had the privilege to have taken a class from him many years ago and have followed him every since.  He touched my heart then and I’m feeling very sad that he has passed.  May he RIP.  May the lord bless his family and help them through this time of sorrow.  
Sincerely,
Dorothy C.  3/5/20


My Deepest Sympathy's to the Floriani Family.  I only got to see Walter at one class that he taught here in Tucson and I was mesmerized at how energetic he was.  Am so sorry for his loss.

Linda D. 3/5/20


Ricky,
I have been wondering for some time now about Walter, and this brings me great sadness. I enjoy the Floriani  software and the efforts that have been put into it by Walter, his family and he co-workers. 

My thoughts and prayers go out for all of you. I especially ask for peace and comfort at this sad time of heartache and grief.

I am attaching a copy of work I just finished today using FTC-U and Baby Lock Destiny II. The embroidered card is being sent to a friend. His name lives one and, hopefully, will be remembered and enjoyed for years to come.

Marie .T.  3/5/20


RNK and Staff,
I am truly saddened by this news. I got to be in his presence years ago and so enjoyed his incredible work knowledge and love of his family’s business.
I have his Total Control and special book from then signed as he always did Hugs & Stitches. A true love of embroidery was what he shared with everyone who wanted to learn. Please share with his wife and family my sincere condolences. May he rest in Gods loving arms and dance on the streets of gold in Heaven.
Blessings always,
Marsha P. 3/5/20
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻


Dear Kay and Ricky,

I am so deeply saddened to hear of Walter's passing. I took an intensive digitizing class from him many years ago. I found him to be a wonderful teacher and very delightful gentle-man.

No words can convey my sympathy for the enormous loss your whole team and his family are experiencing. Know that the thoughts and prayers of many people are with you at this trying time. The world is a lesser place without his wonderful smile and boundless love.

Sincerely,
Susan D. 3/5/20


I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. I met him at an event, and it was a pleasure. His knowledge was amazing. I’m truly sorry for your loss. Prayers for you all. Cindy S., Arkansas 3/5/20

Thank you so much for letting us know. Walter gave me an individualized instruction one evening in Phoenix where I had attended a workshop he was doing. Truly a caring individual.

Karen T. 3/4/20