It’s a small, unassuming business on U.S. 87, a little south of the La Vernia city limits on U.S. 87. But the exterior of Rye’s Flowers and Unique Gifts belies the warmth and wonder that lie within, where customers can find gifts with a South Texas flavor, flowers for any occasion, and a hometown welcome from La Vernia’s own Marian Rye.
Folks new to the community may only know her as a member of the business community, but some in the area literally owe Marian their lives, as a longtime member of the La Vernia Emergency Medical Services.
Born in San Antonio, she graduated from Harlandale High School in 1955.
Her father was an airplane mechanic at what was then Kelly Field; Marian’s mother never worked outside the home.
She married Johnny Rye when she was 19. They were married for 56 years, until Johnny died in 2011 from emphysema and COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease].
They had a son and a daughter, Ronny and Sherry. Ronny played trombone in the high school band and Sherry was a Honey Bear Dance Team member. Sherry passed away from an aneurism a few years ago. Marian has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
She has lived in La Vernia since 1965, when Johnny retired from the U.S. Air Force.
“We thought we were moving out to the country!” she recalled. “Now, it’s not country anymore.”
Marian opened Rye’s Gifts and Imports 30 years ago, selling Mexican dresses and other imported merchandise. The business just morphed into a flower shop, she said.
At the time, Georgie Ferry also owned a flower shop in La Vernia.
Marian became involved with the EMS when Ronny volunteered with the organization in high school.
“I decided I was going to be a driver,” she said. “Then I went to EMT school. Now I’m the president! I’ve been the president of the EMS for 20 years.”
To help fund the EMS, the group hosts a rabies clinic on the first Sunday in May. They charge $8 for each rabies shot, working with County Line Animal Hospital administers the shots.
Her oddest experience with the EMS involved this writer, when I suffered a snakebite.
“You should have died,” Marian recalled. “I knew there was only so much time and I thought you were a goner. I didn’t think you were gonna make it. But you did! If it happened these days, I would have just called AirLife.”
The EMS, Marian’s family, and her business keep her busy.
In recent years, her business has grown.
“I expanded the business, built this building, and started getting more unique items,” she said. “I’ve got everything you need.”
Among the dizzying array customers can find at Rye’s Flowers and Unique Gifts are Yellow Box footwear, jewelry, purses, gift items, decorative items, homemade arts and craft items, T-shirts, crosses, Oma’s Choice Fredericksburg canned and pickled veggies, candles made in Sonora, Texas, and -- of course -- flowers!
Funeral arrangements and casket sprays are her favorite arrangements to make, and her favorite flower to work with is aster Maryam. Christmas is her favorite holiday.
Marian offers deliveries through Teleflora, FTD, and wired orders, and she accepts phone orders.
“I deliver all over the place,” she said. “I drive to San Antonio, Poth, Seguin, New Braunfels, Stockdale, Floresville, La Vernia, and Nixon.”
She makes and delivers arrangements for some local churches.
For fun, she plays bingo or enjoys trips to Eagle Pass or Louisiana.
Having lived in La Vernia for several decades, she’s seen a lot of change, but there’s one thing Marian would welcome in the community.
“More activities for the kids and teenagers,” she said.
Rye’s Flowers and Unique Gifts
•Located at 11239 U.S. 87 W., La Vernia; 830- 779-2159 or 1-800-
•Hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3
Out of hours, if you need something in an emergency, call her at 830-
779-2159, and she’ll meet you at the shop.
La Vernia EMS
If you are interested in joining the EMS, call Marian Rye at 830-779-
2159. Volunteers are warmly welcomed!