Robert Flowerree was born on January 4, 1921, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Tulane University in 1942. After graduation, he joined C.D. Johnson Lumber Company and held key positions until the company was acquired by Georgia-Pacific (GP) in 1951. Mr. Flowerree was manager of the Toledo, Oregon, mill at the time.
Active in timber research, Mr. Flowerree is credited for his plan of utilization and reforestation, working with GP’s founder, Owen Cheatham, to use second growth timber for production and to cut trees to make room for younger ones. This practice, controversial at the time, continues today.
He was instrumental in GP’s rapid growth during the late 1950s and 1960s. Acquisitions included Coos Bay Lumber, Hammon Lumber, Crossett Lumber, National Box & Specialty Company, and Oshkosh Corrugated Box Manufacturing Company. In 1963, Mr. Flowerree was named executive vice president of pulp and paper, and the company added Puget Sound Pulp and Timber, Hopper Paper Division, Vanity Fair Paper Mills, and St. Croix Paper Mills. This marked the company’s entrance into the tissue business. Later in the 1960s, they added Kalamazoo Paper, Port Hudson, Louisiana, and Hudson Pulp and Paper Corporation, Palatka, Florida.
Mr. Flowerree was named president of GP in 1975 and was elected chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1976. He retired in 1984.
When asked to give his advice to young managers, he said, “…operate the plant like it is your money, not somebody else’s in Atlanta. You have to be real sincere about working for the stockholders and treating your jobs like you own the company. If people do that, they will succeed.” Regarded as the very backbone of Georgia-Pacific through the early years, Mr. Flowerree continued to influence the company until his death, May 1, 2006.
Mr. Flowerree and his wife, Elaine, have three living children, John, Ann, and David. A fourth son, Robert, died in 1985.