Stan Sedran, a World War II veteran and longtime businessman who was an integral fixture in Greenville’s downtown revitalization, died Thursday, May 12. He was 101 years old.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Sedran ran Sedran Furs on North Main Street in downtown for more than 60 years.
He lived by the Golden Rule — treat others as you want to be treated — and his signature expression: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
His daughter, Cindy Sedran, described her father as a man of integrity and humor.
“He had a heart of gold,” she said.
Sedran was born Jan. 11, 1921, in the Bronx in New York City. He was the second of two boys born to Joseph and Pauline Sedran.
He was drafted into the war in 1942 at 21 years old. Appointed an Air Force bombardier, Sedran flew B-25s, which became one of the most heavily armed airplanes in the world, according to Boeing. He flew missions across North Africa, Italy and France, following the U.S. infantry.
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In a 2021 interview with The Greenville News, he spoke of the scars that the war left on him.
“I lost a lot of friends. I’m responsible for killing a lot of people who spoke a different language,” Sedran said. “And to this day I realize what I went through, dropping bombs on people I didn’t know. They had families.”
But, “It was the right thing, because we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that,” Sedran told The News.
Stan and his wife, May, came to Greenville in 1953 to start their fur business. At first, they had a store where the Hyatt hotel is now. A few years later, they moved to the corner of North Main and College streets, where they remained for 35 years.
They had a successful business, Cindy said. In the 1990s, they had more than 5,000 furs to store away for the summer, “which goes to show just how much business they brought to Greenville,” she said in a note.
The Sedrans watched as the city changed and grew.
“I took a liking to Greenville very much,” Sedran previously told The News. “I saw what I still see today, things that can be improved so much, and the growth.”
Not just a business owner, Sedran was civically involved, too. The city of Greenville one time awarded Sedran with an “appreciation of service” award after he served on on a local community development task force, Cindy Sedran said.
“Stan was a beloved Greenville original,” Mayor Knox White said in a text message. “For generations he and his business on Main Street were the heart and soul of downtown. I always appreciated his insight and embrace of the city he loved.”
Sedran discovered in 2015 that his lease wouldn’t be renewed on Main Street. Relocating would be too expensive, so he sold his inventory and moved to the suburbs in Taylors.
He was still active in the community after retirement. Stan was a member of two nonprofits, the Kiwanis Club and Sertoma Inc., for over 50 years, Cindy said. He received awards for perfect attendance for 12 years in a row.
Sedran also coached a local baseball team and played golf every Sunday, Cindy said.
“He was my mentor and best friend,” she said.
Macon Atkinson is the city watchdog reporter for The Greenville News. She’s powered by long runs and strong coffee. Follow her on Twitter @maconatkinson.