The Holman Legacy: From Bud To Bump

Next month, the city honors the family that brought Cadillacs, Piper Aircraft and the Dodgers to Vero Beach.
Bud Holman with the Dodgers at Holman Stadium. When the government returned the old Naval Air Station to the city of Vero Beach at the end of WWII, it was Bud’s idea to offer 104 acres as a spring-training ground for the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. They would stay 61 years.

Bud Holman had chutzpah. And he used it to help chart the course of history for Vero Beach. He played an integral role in the development of the municipal airport and, using clever means, was responsible for the paving of the runways. In addition, it was his ingenuity and charisma that drew Piper Aircraft and the Dodgers here. In recent years, of course, his legacy has been challenged by changing times and circumstances, but his place in Vero Beach’s history is solid, and it’s no coincidence that three subsequent generations of Holmans continue to call Vero Beach their home – one of the reasons the family is being honored May 2 at this year’s Pioneer Family Dinner at the Vero Heritage Center.

Born in 1900 in Kentucky, Bud Holman attained success at a young age, working for General Motors. In the early 1920s, his job with GM took him to the geographic extremes of Detroit and Cuba, but his wife Dora Belle had relatives who had relocated from New Jersey to Vero, Florida, and so in 1925 the Holmans settled here. Their home was on 26th Avenue, south of Route 60. Continuing his relationship with GM, Bud opened a Cadillac dealership in downtown Vero at the current location of the Chamber of Commerce building.

Read the entire article in the April 2009 issue