A Life Lived: Floyd Lambert had a lifetime of friends and stories

Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
Floyd Lambert had a lifetime of stories under his belt, and every story equaled to a friend or two.
Floyd, who died Jan. 5, was former owner of Lambert’s Produce, a small vegetable and produce market, which for many years was located on the Elizabethton side of the Doe River Bridge at Valley Forge.
Floyd, who grew up in Poga, enjoyed growing a vegetable garden and raising livestock. He opened his first produce market at the Hi-Cliff, and later moved it to Valley Forge. The produce market is now located a short distance down the road across from the Stateline Drive-In.
Floyd’s wife, Oma, said the market and its customers became his life. “He knew most of the customers by their first name and enjoyed sharing a story, a joke, and a laugh with them. He was a big talker and a very friendly person,” she said.
She shared that Floyd began his business many years ago by selling home-grown tomatoes. Later, he added peaches and other produce to the mix. “He enjoyed raising a garden and farming, and it was that love of growing things that led to Lambert’s Produce. It was a place where you could buy good, fresh produce, but moreover, it was a place that friendships were grown,” said Oma, who still helps her daughter in the market.
Floyd and Oma were married 59 years, and many of those years were spent at the produce market. In addition to the produce market, Floyd worked some as a carpenter at Beech Mountain.
“Floyd was a people person and he was happiest when he had someone to talk to. He was also a giving person. He gave a of samples away — a slice of cantaloupe, an apple, a banana, a slice of watermelon, etc. If you were at the market very long, Floyd would sell you something,” Oma said with a smile. “He was a good man, a wonderful husband to me, and a doting father.”
But, perhaps the one trait he was known for, next to selling good vegetables and fruits, was his knack for talking. “He could talk to anybody and he was good at selling. If you were at the market any length of time, he’d sell you something and get your dollar before you left,” Oma said with a chuckle.
When Floyd was no longer able to run the market, he turned it over to his daughter, Teresa Julian of Hampton. The couple also has two other daughters, Carolyn, Nola Gay and a son, Karlas.
Floyd stayed true to his Poga roots and friends. He also loved the Lord and while he grew up in the Piney Grove Church of Christ, he attended a number of other churches after moving to Valley Forge. However, he returned every year to the Piney Grove Church of Christ homecoming to catch up with family and friends. “He never forgot where he came from and he never forgot the people who were part of his youth. Floyd had a lot of respect for his Poga family and friends. He had a lot of friends and family, some of whom lived across the state line in North Carolina,” shared Oma.
“Floyd was not a rich man by any means, but he loved his family and friends, and he enjoyed growing things,” said Oma.
In his later years, Floyd enjoying watching wrestling and boxing on television as well as westerns. He also did a little fishing on Watauga Lake.
Floyd spent his last days at Signature Health Care in Elizabethton. When he died, he was laid to rest at the Flat Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in the Butler community.
Soon, a new growing season will be here, and Lambert’s Market will be bustling with business. There will be the usual produce — fresh strawberries followed by green beans and other produce. The only thing missing will be Floyd Lambert and his home-grown stories.

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