S. Alexander Billon, 93, of Gulfport, Florida passed away on Wednesday November 30, 2022, of natural causes. Al was born on May 4, 1929 in Zhitomir, Ukraine.
Growing up in Ukraine during World War 2, Al lost his parents as a young teen. After escaping by bike and train to Germany, he lived in refugee camps where he taught himself English and German. Through a program run by Eleanor Roosevelt, he was brought to Michigan as an orphan. He was eventually adopted by a sweet lady the family called “Grandma Gunther.” Through his efforts with the help of a Senator he sought out, Al was able to locate his elderly Mother in Ukraine and bring her to live with them in the States and in Brazil. She met many of her grandchildren before she passed away.
Al received a scholarship to University of Michigan, and earned an MBA and PHD from Ohio State and Michigan State. Along the way, he became a Fulbright Scholar and won many awards of distinction and accolades for his academic contributions.
In 1957 he met the love of his life, Irene Danylevich, in Boston Massachusetts. They married in Boston and held their reception for 250 people at the Prudential building. They spent 65 years together. Irene and Al traveled extensively and had stints in Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Byelorussia, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Spain, and many more countries.
Dr. Billon developed and launched the College of Business in Brazil in a program supported by John F Kennedy. He taught International Business, Strategy and Business Policy at the University of Delaware for most of his adult life. He and Irene hosted countless groups of students from all over the world in programs Billon created to teach western business practices to formerly Soviet bloc students.
In addition to his students, many a friend/relative have expressed their lifelong gratitude for the food and care packages Al sent to Ukraine once he was stateside. Many of them shared that he saved their lives. Al and Irene were always hospitable to distant and near relatives who needed a place to stay and launch their lives in the United States.
Al was an active member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and attended services at St. Peter and Paul in Wilmington, Delaware, and at St. Michael’s in Pinellas County, Florida. He is survived by six children: Andrew, Lydia, Natalie, Catherine, Angelina, and John, their 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.