William F. "Bill" Kelleher

  • Born: July 1, 1923
  • Died: January 23, 2020
  • Location: Everett, Massachusetts

Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176

Tel. (781) 665-1949

Tribute & Message From The Family


William F. "Bill" Kelleher, of Everett, died January 23, 2020, at the age of 96. Bill was born in Everett on July 1, 1923 to Cornelius and Mary (O'Leary) Kelleher. He was raised in Everett and lived most of his life there.

Bill came from a large Irish family. Both of his parents immigrated from Macroom, County Cork, Ireland. He was one of eight children, including a baby brother John who died at 15 months, and a brother Jerimiah who died at age 9. He had to drop out of high school to go to work to help support his family, but he later earned his GED, something he was very proud of. After his time in the Army, Bill would eventually go to work for the shipping department at Touraine Paints for over 35 years.

Mr. Kelleher served honorably in the US Army during World War II. Serving from 1943-1946, Bill fought in the Rhineland, parts of Central Europe and in the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge, living in foxholes and tents during the brutally cold winter. A favorite story of his time in the service was one day in a truck in Germany, he was passing another truck when he heard someone shout out "Billy Kelleher!" from the passing truck. He never found out who that person was. He also played the slingerland drums for the Army's orchestra swing band.

Bill never lost his passion for music after his time in the Army. He played with Rudy Valle in Bermuda, at the Inverouix Hotel with Ruby Newman, with the Jack Marshall Orchestra, Hal MacIntire & his orchestra, Hal LeRoy the tap dancer, and also with the Don Dudley Orchestra. He'd also be known to be playing music at Mosley's Ballroom in Dedham.

Predeceased by seven siblings: the late Stephen Kelleher & his wife Bella, Hugh Kelleher & his wife Irene, Marie Higgins & her husband Frank, John Kelleher, Cornelius Kelleher & his wife Elaine, Jeremiah Kelleher, and James Kelleher & his wife Marie. Uncle of John Higgins & his late wife Anne, Marianne Higgins, Jane Madden & her husband Charles, Hugh Kelleher & his wife Dorothy, the late Stephen Kelleher & his wife Joan, Pamela Halpern & her husband Jerry, John Kelleher & his partner Catherine O'Connell, Robert Kelleher & his wife Candice, Maureen Kelleher & her husband Bert Spector, Nancy Kelleher & her husband Robert Calnan, Sharon Kelleher-Pippy & her husband Doug Pippy, Michael Kelleher & his wife Pi, Linda Dooley & her late husband Ed, Patricia Ells & her husband Arthur, and Judith Fralliccardi & her husband Al. Also survived by many great and great-great nieces & nephews.

Visiting Hours will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26th, from 2-5 PM at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose. A Funeral Service will be held at the Gately Funeral Home at 10 AM on Monday, Jan. 27th. Interment with Military Honors at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Relatives & friends are respectfully invited to attend.