R.I.S.E. to Support the floral industry during our annual fundraising campaign! Click Here to Make a Donation

News

Memorial Tribute Established Honoring Bill Gouldin

Industry Leader & Advocate

Industry friends Buzzy Heroman, Steve Neubauer, Greg Royer, and Ken Young have established a memorial tribute through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) honoring William “Bill” J. Gouldin, Jr., who passed away on June 19, 2024, at the age of 75.

Bill Golden

Bill Gouldin was well known for his work as President of Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, and Garden Center. Strange’s is focused in the Richmond, Virginia, area and consists of two florist locations, two garden centers, and a wholesale greenhouse range.

His lifelong dedication to the business provided for the ongoing growth of Strange’s. Bill worked alongside his family as the third generation of the business, learning all that he could from his father, William J. Gouldin, Sr., and inspiring the fourth generation and beyond. 

“Bill’s commitment, information gathering, and institutional knowledge of the entire industry, especially independent retail florists, will be greatly missed. He was always willing to share and provide thoughtful conversation and debate,” reflected Steve Neubauer of Neubauer’s Flowers & Market House. 

Among Bill’s many accomplishments, Strange’s ranked among the top 25 in FTD. It is one of Virginia’s largest greenhouse growers and one of the largest retail garden centers in the United States. Bill ensured that his customers were always satisfied with an ever-expanding list of products and services, more convenient locations, and the best quality at reasonable prices. 

Longtime industry friend and peer William “Buzzy” Heroman, Jr. of Billy Heroman’s, shared, “Bill and I were the same age, and we met through FTD. He served on several committees on the national FTD level, and we served together more than once. Bill was extremely bright and especially talented in the financial areas of business. Bill grew Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, and Garden Centers into one of the Top Floral operations in the United States.” Under Bill’s leadership, Strange’s Florist was recently voted Virginia Living Magazine’s Best Greenhouse and Nursery in the 2024 Best of Virginia issue.

Outside of his own business, Bill never ceased to influence, impact, and support the industry as a whole. He invested his time and talents through a long history of involvement with AFE. He joined the Board in 1994 and held several positions during his terms, which ended in 2004: Vice Chairman of the Market Research Committee, in which he was an integral force in the continuation of the Endowment’s Consumer Tracking Study, Vice Chairman of the Fundraising Committee, and has served on the Executive and Projects and Grants Committees. In 2000, he began his time on AFE’s Executive Committee as Secretary and became Chairman from 2002-2003. Even after his time on the Board, Bill continued to be a lifelong donor to AFE with his giving spanning over four decades. 

“A former Chairman of the American Floral Endowment, Bill was always mindful of the strengths and help that the Endowment could give his fellow floral industry members. Bill was a true southern gentleman and one of my closest friends,” continued Buzzy Heroman. 

Bill Gouldin

Bill was also a member of the dean’s advisor board for the School of Business Economics at Longwood University. He served as both the FTD Virginia District Representative and Chairman. He served as First Chairman of the FTD Young Owners/Managers Committee and on FTD’s Board of Trustees.  

Bill’s longtime commitment to volunteering didn’t stop there. He also gave his time to local floral organizations in the Virginia area. He was a past president of the Central Virginia Florists Association and the Richmond Florist Delivery Coop and past Vice Chairman of the Tri-State Growers Association. He was a Past President and Treasurer of the Southern Retail Florist Association and Past Chairman of the Retail Merchants Association of Greater Richmond, Virginia. 

Bill attended Virginia Tech, the University of Oklahoma, Cameron State University, the University of Richmond, and Longwood University. He was a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1968 to 1971 in the Headquarters Battery, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Brenda Bowles Gouldin; children, William “Will” J Gouldin III; daughter, Margaret “Meg” E. Gouldin; brothers, Cary T. Gouldin, Thomas M. Gouldin (Greg); and sister, Jane G. Watkins (Tscharner). Bill is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, as well as his beloved dog, Rebel. 

This Memorial Tribute Fund has been established to forever honor Bill and his legacy. You can honor Bill’s memory with a gift to the Bill Gouldin Memorial Tribute that can be made online here or by sending a check with this form to:

American Floral Endowment
c/o Bill Gouldin Memorial Tribute
610 Madison Street, Suite 101, PMB 803
Alexandria, VA 22314       

The family is always notified of donations, and contributions can be made in any amount.