Balazs Martin "Bill" Orban

  • "We loved Bill. Just a great straight up guy. He will be..."
    - Bob & Carole Catineau
  • "We are saddened to hear of Mr. Orban's passing. We hope you..."
    - Manatee County Agricultural Museum
  • "As one of Bill's son in-laws, I knew this wonderful man..."
    - Bob Ritchason
  • "TRULY, a remarkable man. Will never forget him. Privilege..."
    - Dick Gulash
  • "The Lincoln Family loves the Orban Family and has so for a..."
    - Traci Lincoln Artman

(93) died on August 3, 2016 at Bay Pines VA hospital, surrounded by family and loved ones.He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Jan. 4, 1923, the son of Hungarian immigrants, Balazs and Agnes Orban. During WWII, Bill was a B24 bomber pilot, serving in the 801st/492nd bomber group, as part of the OSS "Carpetbaggers", dropping spies and supplies to the resistance fighters in France and Norway. He received the US Army Air Corp Air Medal for meritorious achievement. In May 2015, he participated in the Honor Flight to Washington, DC for Veterans. He also received the French Legion of Honor award. Bill attended Ohio State University. In 1945, he married Shirley Chaminade from Birmingham, Michigan. In 1946, he purchased Medina Greenhouses in Medina, Ohio. In 1953, he began coming to Bradenton, Fl. He owned the Flower Garden on Holmes Beach. In 1975, he sold the Ohio greenhouses and moved permanently to Bradenton where he opened Orban's Nursery, specializing in poinsettias. In 2013, he was awarded the Manatee County Outstanding Agriculturist of the Year. Bill was an avid flyer and was featured across the country and internationally when, at the age of 92, he made a skilled emergency landing when his engine died, avoiding people and buildings to put the plane down safely in a vacant lot. Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, whose birthday was on the date he died. He is survived by his sister Irene Johnson of Ashland, Ohio, his three children, Carillon Orban (Robert Ritchason), Audrey Moeller (Devin) and Marty Orban (Becky) and five grandchildren, Wendy Garner (Tim), Jessica Trawick (Sonny), Reed Moeller, Whitney Bradberry (Andrew), Remy Orban, Tyler Orban and two great-grandsons, Cole and Reece Garner. His family would like to thank his special friend, Betty Eaton, for her love and support. In honor of this beloved horticulturist, the family requests that, in lieu of donations, give a bouquet or a plant to a friend or loved one. A celebration of his life will be held on August 27th from 2-4pm at the American Legion Hall at 2000 75th St. West, Bradenton.
Published in The Bradenton Herald on Aug. 21, 2016
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