Sunday, September 10, 2006

William Hill Kelly

(From "William Hill Kelly Jr. didn't have children of his own, but whenever he visited any of his seven nieces and nephews, they would always run right to him, happily calling out for "Uncle Billy."

"He played games with them and...talked with them," said his sister, Colleen Kelly of the Bronx. "He was very special. Being 30 years old and not having children, he really took the time out to spend with our kids."

Kelly, a Manhattan resident who worked for Bloomberg Financial Services, was attending a breakfast meeting at Windows on the World on Sept. 11. His sister said he managed to e-mail his company that day, saying that he was awaiting instructions from the fire department.

Kelly grew up in Yardley, Pa., and went to the University of Scranton, majoring in international business. He was not married but had a longtime girlfriend, Susan Magee, who also worked for Bloomberg.

"He was a very kind soul," his sister said."

(From "If you lived on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, you knew William H. Kelly Jr. Although Mr. Kelly grew up in Bucks County, Pa., his family spent summers on the island, where he was able to indulge his passion for the water, learning to sail and surf. "My friends would joke around; they used to call him 'Mr. L.B.I.,' " said his girlfriend of three years, Sue Magee, an employee of Bloomberg L.P., where Mr. Kelly also worked.

In fact, even if you did not live on Long Beach Island, you may have known Mr. Kelly, or the type of person he was. "He wasn't a loud, life-of-the-party kind of guy, but he always sought out the person in any situation who wasn't comfortable, and made them feel welcome," said his sister Colleen Kelly. Mr. Kelly, 30, who lived in Stuyvesant Town, was a favorite uncle to his many nieces and nephews. Once, instead of giving them all individual Christmas gifts, he rented an ice rink for an afternoon, and invited his whole family.

After Sept. 11, his mother, JoAnne Kelly, was surprised to receive an envelope full of a 4-year-old Billy's dark curls, from an early trip to the barber. She had given the envelope to a beloved neighbor, whom Mr. Kelly had nicknamed Pal, as a joke, and Pal had saved it for 26 years. Now Mrs. Kelly has something of her son left to treasure."

I don't know that as somebody who didn't know Mr. Kelly, that I can really add anything. I just would say that this should make us think. Not about 2,996 people, but about one person. Just one person. Each family didn't lose 2,996 people. And truthfully, we sometimes get so caught up in the number that we forget that these numbers represent people. People with families and jobs.

William Kelly was just doing his job. Living life everyday as he had for years. So today this is in remembrance of him. Not many, just one. May God be with his family today and always.

"Contributions in his memory can be sent to a free clinic started by Colleen Kelly and two friends five years ago in East Harlem and recently renamed in Kelly's honor: The Ita Ford-Bill Kelly Jr. Health Team, 226 E. 119th St., New York, N.Y. 10035."