William "Seabiscuit" Herman

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Herman, William "Seabiscuit"

William (Will) Herman, a WWII veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor, died on December 27, 2012, in UHS Wilson Medical Center, Johnson City, with his wife of 67 years and his elder daughter at his side. Born in Binghamton, NY, on January 10, 1919 to William and Susan (Gajdos) Herman, Will starred at Binghamton Central High both in the classroom and in sports, earning plaudits in basketball and baseball, while gaining admission into The National Honor Society. It was while playing basketball that a local sportswriter dubbed Will "Seabiscuit," a nickname which reflected his speed, tenacity, and winning ways. Upon graduating in 1938, Will worked for Link Aviation and Cary Company. In each instance, the companies recruited him to work and play basketball. He also played basketball for the Sanseveria team, for which he was billed on advertising placards as the team's "scoring ace." In 1942, Will joined the army and served as a member of Company A, 22nd Infantry. On April 14, 1945, while a staff sergeant in Wolkersfeldon, Germany, he risked his life and dashed into a 200-yard clearing to rescue a fallen American soldier under his command. In spite of relentless fire from the enemy's automatic weapons, Will carried the mortally-wounded, young private to the relative safety of a shell crater. For his bravery and disregard for his own well-being, he was awarded the Bronze Star, a decoration that he dearly cherished. So important was his military service to him that he kept his framed discharge papers on a wall in his house and carried a small, laminated copy of the document in his wallet. Following the war, Will began work at IBM and continued in the company's employment, never missing a day, until 1985, when he retired. He is a member of the company's Quarter Century Club. Will was a man of unparalleled patriotism and principle. He was a lifetime member of both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars who proudly flew the American flag on all national holidays and was careful never to leave it flying after sundown. He was happy to help others and never accepted payment in return. Will was a self-taught carpenter who kept a meticulously maintained workshop in his basement and transformed his post-war Cape into a home that became his pride and joy during his almost 63-year tenure in it. He was the husband of Geraldine (Webster) Herman and the father of Joanne (Thomas) Schwarz, Kathleen (Robert) Littlefield, and William (Theresa) Herman, all of whom survive him. When the children were young, Will regaled his gullible offspring with a number of tall tales: How he'd once hit a ball so hard that it had gone into orbit; How he'd once swam the English Channel with one hand tied behind his back; How Hitler had committed suicide when he'd heard that Will was coming over. Will joked that he had single-handedly made the world safe for democracy. Will also readily recalled the time in the early 1930s when he met the train carrying the New York Yankees, who were in Binghamton for an exhibition game, and was ushered around the lobby of the Arlington Hotel by Lou Gehrig. As Gehrig pointed out various players, the young Will obtained their autographs on his older brother's baseball. Thus began a loyalty to the Yankees that extended to his death. Will never missed watching a Giants football game and rooted for Syracuse University's basketball team, as long as it wasn't playing against Notre Dame, his allegiance to which was firmly cemented during the team's ascendancy in football under Knute Rockne. In addition to his wife and children, Will is survived by his sisters-in-law, Margaret (Peter) Herman, Anne (John) Herman, and Ruby (Robert) Fiene, as well as six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and by his siblings, Michael, Mary, Peter, Helen, Flory, and John. At Will's request, funeral services are private; there will be no viewing hours. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Animal Care Council, PO Box 269, Endicott, NY 13761.

Funeral Home
Chopyak-Scheider Funeral Home
326 Prospect St. Binghamton, NY 13901
607-797-4612
Funeral Home Details
Published in Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Jan. 1, 2013
bullet Army bullet Bronze Star bullet VFW bullet WWII
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