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Where have all the flowers gone?

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, April 14, 2003

The death of Bill Stroud last week represents not just the loss of a significant leader in the home textiles world — but from an even larger perspective, the loss of a truly wonderful, warm and caring human being.

Bill started Strouds the same year — 1979 — that we started Home Textiles Today. And we later often chuckled about the tough uphill road it was at first to get the folks in home textiles world to understand what each of our businesses was trying to do.

Bill came out of the department store arena — which back in those days was the top dog retailing entity in home textiles.

He had this vision for a new approach to selling home textiles. And he had to talk and perform in a way that the department store community was required to do. Significantly more than the standards for Caesar's wife.

As the company grew and prospered, Bill retained and honed his personal sensibilities with regard to business — and made certain that his people understood the standards and operated under them. It was amazing how he could take an executive aside, and firmly but gently explain "this is the Strouds way — forget about what you learned in department stores about business behavior."

Typical of Bill's personality and sense of responsibility was what he did after his heart attack while in the New York home textiles market. Annually there the Strouds golf and tennis outing drew the crème de la crème of the market with the Heart Association the beneficiary of some really big dollars.

Even as the company faltered, Bill maintained his classy demeanor, his way of doing business, and his ethics.

Those of us who knew Bill as a friend as well as a competitor, customer or whatever have had a rare privilege.

There aren't too many Bills walking around the marketplace. His death is a loss to the industry and to me personally. I considered him a very special friend.

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