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23038049 van tiemFlorentine H Van Tiem
September 15, 1924 - July 29, 2017

Florentine Van Tiem Born on September 15, 1924, died peacefully with her family by her side at home in Boynton Beach Florida on July 29, 2017

Mrs. Florentine Van Tiem was a trailblazer for women in business. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she began her business career as a copywriter, then publicity director for WB Donner & Company. She was responsible for obtaining editorial space in such prestigious publications as Life, Look, Colliers and Fortune.

She worked as an account executive of a national advertising agency, then opened her own agency, that advertised on Radio, Television and in Print for numerous companies, Avis Rent-A-Car, The International Division of Willy’s Overland, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Michigan State Medical Society, J.L. Hudson Companies and Schafer’s Bakeries, to name just a few.

In the 1950s, it was Mrs. Van Tiem’s marketing plan that pushed Avis from a small Michigan operator to the largest car rental company in the nation and associated the brand with all the major airports. When airports were moving out and ground transportation was nil, Florentine had the idea to make Avis Rent A Car “THE WORLDS LARGEST AT THE AIRPORT CAR RENTAL SYSTEM”. She was also instrumental in setting up the Avis Franchising Advertising Fund into which licensees could contribute dollars per cars in their fleet. To accomplish this, a task force was organized of five super salesmen, including Avis and herself. They signed airports to exclusive 5 to 10-year contracts for Avis Rent-A-Car.

After this, Florentine approached American Airlines and TWA and convinced them that Avis service to air travelers was of inestimable value to the airlines. As a result, American Airlines and TWA ran and paid for full page ads in Life, Time and Newsweek urging the Business Traveler to “Fly American, Drive Avis….” “Fly TWA, Drive Avis” or “Where the Highway Meets the Skyway, Let Avis Take Over”. She worked with every airline to make sure they carried Avis literature in their seat pockets.

Florentine Van Tiem has always believed that you must be the biggest and best wherever you, your products or your services encounter the public. If you own property, make it the most successful. If you can only afford one publication, do a concentrated, effective job against that segment of the market, rather than haphazard, scattered job against the whole market.

In the early 1960s she went to Kellogg’s of Battle Creek Michigan and told them that she would make their worst selling cereal profitable by associating it with a healthy bread product. It was during these advertising years that Kellogg’s offered her the exclusive franchising contract on her SunBran Bread made with Kellogg’s All-Bran.

She has held past directorships in Hillcrest Laboratories, FICC, Louise K Buell Scholarship and Award Foundation, National Enrichment Association, Detroit’s General District Business Association, and Save Orchestra Hall and a Board Member of St. Mary’s Seminary.

Mrs. Van Tiem is one of the founders of the World Centers for Animal Disease Control, and is a member of the Woman’s Association of Detroit Symphony, American Lung Association, and American Baker’s Association and the recipient of numerous awards. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Woman, Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry and the National Social Register.

Mrs. Van Tiem dropped out of college during her freshman year because of the hardships at home, in helping to support her widowed mother and younger brother. She returned to Wayne State University in the early 60’s to continue her studies toward a degree in Psychology. She was married, had 3 children, operated 3 businesses, carried 12 hours a quarter and maintained a grade point average between 3.6 and 3.8.

In the mid-sixties when returning from the office with her 14-year-old son, a large truck ran a red light and hit her car broadside killing her son and severely injuring her. Unfortunately, she never finished her degree but she recovered and enjoyed excellent health and had no visible signs of her injuries until 2003 when she suffered a massive stroke on her return to Florida from the hotel she owned in Michigan.

Mrs. Van Tiem is the former owner of several business over the years, including a race horse ranch in Davie, Florida, a Hotel and a Spa in Michigan, a hotel in Massachusetts and Colorado Mining in Colorado. But with a special affinity she was the former owner of Troumassee Estate a major banana plantation and the largest herd of cattle in St. Lucia, an island in the Caribbean.

She is survived by her son Dr. Joseph Van Tiem, an Epidemiologist/Veterinarian with the US Department of Agriculture and his wife Jill Culler and her daughter Victoria Van Tiem Zahornacky, an Insurance Broker and her husband Robert Zahornacky. She has five Grandchildren, Madeline Olesky, Elizabeth Van Tiem, Caroline Van Tiem, Darrin Zahornacky and Erica Zahornacky. She is also survived by her brother Joseph Urban who is retired and resides in Northville, Michigan.

Viewing will be held from 9:00 AM until 11:15 AM at Scobee-Combs-Bowden Funeral Home, corner of US Hwy. #1 & NE 15th Avenue, Boynton Beach on Saturday August 5, 2017 followed by the Funeral Mass at 12 Noon at St. Thomas More Catholic Church 10935 S. Military Trail, Boynton Beach FL 33436. Officiating at the Funeral Mass will be Fr. Julian Harris and Fr. Alex Vargas.

Further Services and burial will be held in Michigan.

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