Bill Kelleher, a devoted husband, father, son and brother, died April 4, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a kind, gracious, and generous man known for his empathetic nature and his incomparable wit. He was 57.
Bill was born in 1961, the fourth boy in a family of six boys. He came into the world 10 minutes before his twin brother, Brian. As kids, they were rarely apart and even created their own language and named themselves “the Blallies.” For 57 years, the Blallies leaned on each other during the lows and celebrated with each other during the highs. The Kelleher home was filled with six rambunctious boys who pushed each other to excel physically and mentally. When Bill was only three, his brother, Joe, taught him and Brian to recognize American presidents on sight. A Salt Lake Tribune story shortly followed about the brainy toddlers. Bill was a thoughtful boy; his mom keeps a box of poems where he thanked her for “cooking rice,” and “taking care of me,” and telling her he “loves her so.”
Bill graduated from Skyline High School and enrolled at the University of Utah, where he joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. There, he met his wife and kindred soul, Angela Banchero, on a blind date. Angela says her “heart stopped” when she opened the door and first saw Bill. They became constant companions. She was the Yin to his Yang. They created a full life that included “Dance Night” at the Kellehers’ (he played DJ while she danced). They travelled extensively across the US and Europe. Bill sampled the local cuisine (especially anything in a sausage casing). Angela ate salad. At parties, she held court in the main room, while Bill sought out the lonely person in the back and engaged them in lively conversation. Bill entertained all Angela’s fanciful ideas, but patiently waited until she came around to his point of view. They took long walks every night, sharing life’s mundane moments and hatching grand plans for their future.
Bill’s life’s joy was his son, Liam, and he was a devoted father. No matter what hobby Liam took up – collecting Pokémon cards, playing Warhammer, rebuilding car engines – Bill nurtured it. When Liam wanted his Tamagotchi digital pet kept “alive” one day in third grade, Bill took it on a job interview and fidgeted with it in his pocket to keep it going. Bill and Liam made beer together, played guitar together, and chuckled through “South Park” and “Ren & Stimpy” together – their bond so profound they could communicate with a glance.
Bill had a devilish sense of humor and an encyclopedic knowledge of historical and cultural trivia; he and Ang were champion “Cash Cab” players. He loved to cook , anchoring the winning teams for the Banchero “Chopped” events. He was a music aficionado and, despite his reserved nature, blossomed on stage as the lead singer in “the id”, an 80s dance band that was a mainstay at the Arts Festival, bar scene and fraternity parties. The day before his death, Bill taught his nephew Griffin to play a kazoo.
Bill was the family pillar. When his brother, Bob, rock climbed, he trusted Bill as the belayer. After his father died, Bill ferried his mom to the grocery store and helped her through the grief. When Angela’s father passed, Bill chauffeured his mother-in-law to her favorite stores and waited patiently while she shopped. And he assumed the role of patriarch to the Banchero girls. Bill was one of the “good guys,” an honest, decent man of integrity. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
Bill is survived by his wife of 33 years, Angela Banchero Kelleher; son, Liam Patrick Kelleher; soon to be daughter-in-law Kathleen Korst; mother, Mary Frances; four brothers, Joseph (Darci) of La Jolla, Calif., Bob (Deborah) of Manzanita, Oregon; Brian (Susan) of Georgetown, Tex., and Kevin (Linda) of Berkeley, Calif.; and eight nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Robert Kelleher and his brother, Pat.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be on Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, Utah. Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary valet parking on the north side of the building. Please share your photos and memories with the family at www.starksfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Grey Whisker Rescue, Best Friends Animal Shelter or a charity of your choice.