We’re feeling especially proud this Memorial Day, as we remember and honor our namesake, William Joseph “Billy” Heroman, Sr. Billy passed away at the age of 95 in March last year, leaving behind a legacy that is the stuff of heroes.
Billy was in the army in the mid-40s, stationed in Europe at the height of World War II. The newlywed and his fellow soldiers were captured at the Battle of the Bulge by the Nazis, who quickly began separating the Jewish-American troops from the non-Jewish ones. Billy was instrumental in saving one Jewish friend’s life, and then characteristically humble in retelling the story after. He was a prisoner-of-war until April of 1945 and eventually went on to receive the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Just a decade after being liberated as a POW, Billy established Billy Heroman’s Flowers & Gifts.
It’s an all-in-the-family enterprise that follows Billy’s example of a life dedicated to family, friends and country. His son and grandsons run the three Baton Rouge shops, which carry on a tradition that was in Baton Rouge-native Billy’s blood—after all, his grandfather delivered flowers via horse and buggy in the late nineteenth century.
Billy’s life was marked by heroism of all kinds, including philanthropy. The Lions Club and the Louisiana School for the Blind benefited from his time and efforts, and he was celebrated for it, receiving multiple awards that pointed to his generosity and activism.
He gave as much of himself to flowers as he did to everyone else, ascending to the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and serving as the President of the Louisiana State Florist Association, among other accomplishments. In all respects, he was a beloved member of this community, a giver and a hero. We remember him fondly this Memorial Day.