William Heyer

Shortly after graduation from SHS I enrolled in Manatee Junior College. During that time I rented a house with three other guys, our former classmate, Bruce Yonker, being one of them. During that time I enjoyed the good life as a beach bum as well as student.

In 1962, my mother asked me to go to New York City to help my sister, Christine. We got an apartment together and I went to work for a Madison Avenue advertising company. Christine was a dancer at the Latin Quarter during the year and a half we live together in New York.

Things were going fine when suddenly an Army draft notice appeared. My boss suggested an Air Force recruiter and a week later I was in the Air Force headed for Lackland Air Force Base for basic training. Biloxi, Mississippi was the next stop for air traffic control training. Out of the ninety graduates, 80 went to Viet Nam, nine stayed in the states and one lucky guy went to Chateauroux, France (guess who).
After leaving France I was on my way to March Air Force Base in California and I stopped to visit my sister, Christine. My wife, Barbara, was a dancer in Sweet Charity and Christine introduced us (they had worked together in New York). Barbara and I were married in December 1970 and we have one son, Randy.

After my discharge from the Air Force, I moved to Las Vegas, had a short term career as a dealer at the Mint Hotel there, until I was contacted by the FAA to begin my 41 year career as an Air Traffic Controller, Supervisor, and Tower Chief. I worked in Washington Headquarters, Phoenix, Sky Harbor Tower, and Palm Springs Tower and Nellis, AFB.  I am grateful to the United States Air Force for my initial training and to the FAA for the opportunity to achieve a wonderful career in air traffic control. Few of us are fortunate enough to have a career we truly love. I loved mine; my wife Barbara loved being in show business and my parents did as well.

Now that I am retired I enjoy playing golf as often as I can and another one of my favorite pastimes is working with John Feight in his Hospital Art in various hospitals across the country and around the world. My son Randy accompanies me on occasion and enjoys it as well.

Many of my classmates knew my family so this may be of interest. My father, Captain William Heyer, a world famous horse trainer, and my mother, Tamara Sheshelowskaya Heyer, a Russian ballerina (who passed away last year at age 93), were brought to the US in 1936, to join The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I spent the first five years traveling with my folks, eating in the cookhouse and playing with other circus children while traveling across the country on the circus train. When I reached age six, I stopped traveling with the family and stayed in Sarasota permanently in order for me to attend school.

In 1949, the first Sailor Circus was performed in the old SHS gymnasium and I, a second grader, was privileged to ride my pony in that show. The following year I rode Starless Night, my father’s famous dressage horse—in fact for the first five shows before retiring from show business.

I want to thank all my SHS classmates for showing me how to work and play well with others. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in October.