While in high school in Washington State, Colonel William (Bill) J. Kelley Jr. became proficient in mountain climbing. He scaled Mount Saint Helens, which peaks at 8,366 feet, and climbed Mount Rainier. With the same drive and determination that it took for him to climb mountains, Bill lived his life. That life included a long career in the U.S. military and many years as a devoted family man.
Born in Waltham, Massachusetts on April 24, 1946, Bill grew up the oldest of three children. With a penchant for hard work from a young age that continued until just weeks before his passing, he took on a paper route while a teen. No matter the weather—which included rain and knee-deep snow—he rose before dawn to fulfill his job duties.
Bill’s wife, Lynn, of 34 years, who survives him, always thought that his mountain climbing and paper delivery experiences helped prepare him for his long and storied military career that began when he joined the U.S. Army in the 1960s and served two tours in Vietnam. Following his war service, he earned his BBA in accounting from the University of Texas in El Paso and graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College. He joined the Army Audit Agency in 1974, beginning a long, successful career in auditing.
Reaching the rank of Colonel in the Army, Bill spent many years on active duty or was an active participant in the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Among his many military accomplishments, he commanded two direct support artillery battalions and the 40th Infantry Division Artillery and was activated to support the military operations combating the LA Riots of 1992. He also served for two years as president of the National Guard Field Artillery Council. Bill received numerous awards, including the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and the Order of California.
Beginning in 1985, Bill focused his career on forensic auditing and went on to make a name for himself in this highly specialized field. Following the events of 9/11, from January 2002 until December 2006, Bill’s skills were required for Operation Noble Eagle. At that time, he returned to active duty as the senior military officer in the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, as well as Director for Data Mining Directorate. During this assignment, Bill made significant contributions that directly impacted defense policy and national security. His efforts won him a Fed 100 award and the distinguished Defense Superior Service Medal.
A sought-after speaker in the area of forensic auditing, Bill made multiple presentations on this topic over the course of his career, including to the European Fraud Conference, Association to Government Auditors and the General Services Administration Smart Card Pay Conference. In April 2004, he testified with the General Accountability Office before the Committee of Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, on the benefits of smarter use of government purchase cards and how it could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. His efforts in this area resulted in significant savings.
Bill was known for his dedication and allegiance to his fellow military members. Many who served and worked under his command and with him consider him a significant mentor.
Bill had what family members might refer to as a zany sense of humor. Everyone who called or visited him counted on enjoying a host of “bad jokes” and humorous remarks. At the same time, he was well-respected and always counted on for his steadfast loyalty and enduring support and kindness. Those who had the privilege of knowing, respecting and loving Bill will greatly miss him.
Bill is survived by his wife, Lynn Kelley, five daughters: Alison, Julie, Mandy, Katie and Amy, brother, Ron, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
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