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William L. Heiberg

Company D-2

29 Jun 1938 – 15 Oct 2002

Place of Death: Arlington, VA

Interment: Cemetery,
West Point, New York

Surrounded by family, our friend and classmate Bill Heiberg went home to be with the Lord at 1815 hrs on October 15th.  He was comfortable and slipped peacefully away.  Bill's bright smile, zest for life, and encouragement that he so readily offered others will be greatly missed by the great many who loved him and valued his friendship.  Be thou at rest, Friend.

The service was Tuesday November 12th, 2002 at the West Point cemetery,

The following classmates were in attendance:

Connie and Larry Budge,
Dawn and Bob Glass
Mary Jane and John Solomon
Trish and Dick Buckner
Scott Dillard (Officiated)
Joyce and Bo Schultz
Jay Olejniczak
Al Vanderbush
Pat and Bruce Shroyer
Bill Esselstein and daughter Lynne
Myra and Shane Olshansky
Chuck Hodell
Barbara and John Neiger

Bill has spent much of the past decade rallying support for "orphan diseases" such as his through the "National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc".

Bill's sister Dore Skidmore will accept all notes and calls of condolence on behalf of the family and she will share them with the other family members.  Her email address is: and her address is: 2611 Lakeview Dr.; Vienna, VA 22181.

In lieu of flowers, his family would appreciate donations in Bill's memory to:
NORD/ACC Restricted Research Fund
55 Kenosia Avenue
PO Box 1968
Danbury, CT 06813-1968

And of course, the family is very grateful to "Hospice of Northern Virginia", which provided aid to Bill and his family in the last months of his life.
Anyone wanting to send them a donation in Bill's memory may do so through:
Hospice of Northern Virginia
The Roy and Margaret Halquist Memorial Hospital Center
4715 N 15th Street
Arlington, VA 22205             (note on check "Halquist Center")

The Final blessing at Bill's Burial

"We give Bill back to You, O Lord, who gave him to us.

As You did not lose him in the giving, so we do not lose him in his return.

For life is eternal, and love is immortal and death is but a horizon,

And the horizon nothing but the limit of our sight"


Class Memorial Pages\D-2 Bill Heiberg.pdf

Dear Fellow Gmuender's:

I just returned from West Point where on a rainy Tuesday November morning, the day after Veterans Day, our beloved fellow Gmuender and friend Colonel William Lytle Heiberg was laid to rest.

As reported by John Neiger, Bill's Classmate and friend, Bill died in the early evening of October 15th surrounded by his family at the Brighton Gardens assisted living community in Arlington Virginia. He received a Christian Burial Service at the Old Cadet Chapel in the West Point Cemetery yesterday morning with the service starting at 10 AM. Bill had been married to Louisa O'Meara, sister of my classmate, Andy O'Meara, and members of the Heiberg and O'Meara families, friends, and West Pointers, most from the Class of 1961 were in attendance. In addition to myself, Pam & Al Fuchs were there to represent the Gmuenders.

The Chaplain who performed the service was Walter Scott Dillard, a classmate of Bill's.

The Memorial Service Program contained a nice biography of Bill, which mentioned his first assignment in Schwaebisch Gmuend. It also mentioned a little known but unique fact about Bill. He, his wife Louisa, and their two boys, Will and James had ALL been born at West Point.

The service was followed by a Military Honor ceremony, with a pall bearer, (Bill had been cremated and his ashes were in an urn), firing party, bugler, and escort troops. We assembled around the grave site, which was just to the rear of the Old Cadet Chapel and less then 20 yards from the Walsh Family Plot where my Mom and Dad are buried and where Phyllis and I plan our interment.

The escort troops presented arms, the pall bearer carried the urn to the site. The flag was secured and stretched out and level, and centered over the grave.
The Chaplain (Walter Dillard) performed the interment service and when that was concluded the NCOIC had the troops present arms and the three volley's of rifle shots were fired. The bugler played "Taps" while the escort team leader folded the flag. The Chaplain then presented the flag to Louisa Heiberg.

God was crying as we conducted the ceremony. A steady rain fell the entire time and fortunately we all had umbrellas to protect ourselves from the elements.

We then departed the grave to adjourn to the Herbert Hall Alumni Center for a post-funeral reception.

As most of you know, Bill was stricken with a rare form of cancer - Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) which he battled for a dozen years. Many of us were amazed by the heroic way in which Bill faced that challenge and were always impressed by his continued cheery nature and the very positive attitude he maintained throughout the remainder of his life. He continued to attend as many of our every two year reunions as he could and remained the gentle, calm, humorous and wonderful Bill we always knew and loved.

I was fortunate to attend the wonderful CELEBRATION for Bill that was organized and conducted by his good friend John Neiger at Brighton Gardens on Sunday, March 24, 2002. Many of us who attended and more who could not, wrote some wonderful tributes to and for Bill which I strongly recommend you take the time to read. Click here to go to "A Special Tribute To a Star Man".

Bill was truly a unique individual. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to know and love him. I will miss him! I last visited Bill, with Mike McAdams at Brighton Gardens on Friday, September 13, 2002. Bill had turned his life over to God and I knew the end was near. I told Bill that I loved him and would miss him. He was still lucid and told me the same.

I would like to close this message with the refrain from the Gradual Hymn, "On Eagle's Wings" which we sang at Bill's Memorial Service yesterday and states that for those who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, and who abide in this shadow for life---

"And I will raise you up on eagle's wings,
hear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of my hand."


Jim Walsh (USMA 1959)

Bill was in the FA battalion in Germany I was assigned to for my AOT training during the summer before my Cow year at WP. He was not my official sponsor but being single at the time, he took me under his wing. His classmate, Steve Walker, was the official sponsor and it was due to these two that I selected FA on graduation. Bill took me to Munich over the 4th of July weekend and had a great time. We spent 15 days in garrison and 15 days at Graf so I saw the best and worst of Germany that summer. In 1967, a classmate of mine married Bill's sister so we were able to reconnect at that time. I later became a gunnery instructor at Ft Sill and Bill became my student as he was going thru FA training prior to being assigned to a FA unit in VN. That was a fun experience as he told all the other students that he taught me all I knew about gunnery. Unfortunately we never met again during our careers in the Army. Thanks for all the mentoring Bill. Rest in peace.

Bill Tredennick '65 /P>

Christmas 2001, Bill, Allura, Holly

Christmas 2001, James, Will, Andrew P. O'Meara, Bill, Jay

Will and Holly's wedding, May 2002, Louisa, Will, Bill, James and Harriet

Harriet's wedding, June 2003, James, Harriet and Will light a memory candle for Bill at the beginning of the service

Bill and Louisa Heiberg's three children and their spouses taken at Harriet's wedding. From left to right: James & Allura, Jay & Harriet, Will & Holly


I knew Bill over our 4 years at West Point but not well as Bill was in the 2nd Regiment and I in the 1st. However after graduation we teamed up as Ranger buddies. And Bill was one great Ranger buddy. After finishing Ranger school we and 3 others rented a home in Lawton, Oklahoma near Fort Sill. Bill was a master party planner and I miss him and his wonderful smile.

Paul Palmer, Maitland, Florida

Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:

William Lytle Heiberg as born at West Point, a third generation son of the Academy.  "Bill spent his formative years there; met his wife Louisa O’Meara (also born at West Point) there; and saw two of their three children born there.  The Academy was as much a part of him as he was of the Academy.

After World War II, Bill’s father brought the family back to West Point. Bill grew up in the wonderful tradition of the “Army Family” with his brother Vald and sister Dorethe. He formed lifelong friendships attending the West Point Grade School and Highland Falls High School.

Following a year at Princeton, Bill entered the academy with the Class of 1961, and distinguished himself in every aspect of his cadet experience: in music, as a star man, as a cadet captain and regimental adjutant. His dad’s quarters on Professor’s Row provided sanctuary for his embattled plebe classmates. Bill’s tunes echoed across the Plain from the Cadet Chapel chimes—some of those tunes a product of his own fertile imagination and sense of humor and not at all linked to religion. Bill loved West Point, partook of all it had to offer him and returned the gift with interest all of his life.

As a new Second Lieutenant in the Artillery, Bill was posted to Schwabish Gemund, Germany. When he returned to the States, Bill went to graduate school at Columbia University in preparation for teaching in the Social Sciences Department. Bill and Louisa met at a Department party.

Bill served a year in Vietnam and he and Louisa were married in Hawaii during R&R. They began their life together when he returned to West Point. Their two sons William Lytle, Jr. and James Fraser were born during those years.

After a tour at Ft. Leavenworth, and a year in Korea, Bill was assigned to the Pentagon. During this tour, Harriet Aldridge was born at Walter Reed. Then followed tours in Germany, in Belgium and at The National War College. Bill’s last tour of duty was at Fort Sill where he was a leader in Field Artillery Development.

His long Army career, in the Artillery, was a constant demonstration of high integrity and professionalism, along with deep humanity and concern for others. Among Bill’s military awards, he wore the Bronze Star with ‘V’. As a soldier, he did his Alma Mater proud.

In 1987, Bill began his second career, becoming a director for Lockheed Martin. He returned to the Washington area in 1999 to be with all his family.

During his last twelve years Bill battled with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), a rare form of cancer. His extraordinary faith and courage manifested themselves to all fortunate enough to have known him. ACC is a cancer so rare NIH was not researching it. Despite numerous oncologists assuring him of only few months of life, Bill from the earliest days of his diagnosis, was very active in setting up the on-line ACC Net. With contacts from this group, he became a co-founder of research for ACC administered by The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A donation from Bill’s father was part of the original seed money to fund research for ACC. Bill never gave up and would not permit others to do so. He was good-humored to the end; always telling his friends that there was some more life just around the corner if one simply continued to believe it was so.

During his last years, Bill reminisced a lot about the Cadet Glee Club. No fun without music, no music without fun. Having led the Club in his First Class year, often with hilarious results, he led it again at his 40th Reunion, up on the podium, and clearly rejoicing in the reprise. A few months later, Mike Gillette, his childhood friend, made it possible for Bill to attend the black-tie USMA Bicentennial Gala Recital by the USMA Band and the Glee Club in New York’s Carnegie Hall. The Master of Ceremonies recognized Bill’s presence, and there was a standing ovation as the Glee Club dedicated “America the Beautiful” to him.

Bill is survived by Louisa and their greatest blessings: three loving, cherished children: Will, James and Harriett. In the last years, Bill was able to welcome Holly, Allura and Jay to the family and the three became six. Bill danced at Will and Holly’s wedding, planned and enjoyed the pictures of James’ and Allura’s wedding, and made plans with Harriet and Jay for their wedding. Thus, with all family close by, his number of children was doubled and the love given was greater than doubled.

Bill’s funeral was held at the Old Cadet Chapel with Scott Dillard (his classmate) as minister, Jack Davis (who was organist and choirmaster, USMA, 1955-1985) as organist, and his loving niece, Jennifer Skidmore, leading the singing of all his family and friends. He is interred there, at his beloved West Point.



  • Archived Bill Heiberg Profile