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
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
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
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.
54 TAPS MAY/JUNE 2004