Capital Region mourns the loss of long-time Golub counsel, William J. Kenneally.
William James Kenneally passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 5, 2020 with family by his side at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA after a long battle with leukemia. Bill was 69 years old.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Bill was a lifelong avid Steeler fan attending many games in all kinds of weather including two Super Bowls and collecting numerous pieces of memorabilia to adorn his man cave. Bill was the son of the late Richard Kenneally and the late Aileen (McEvilly) Hayden and was a graduate of North Hills High School in Pittsburgh. In high school Bill competed in track and field and fell in love with debate and participated in many tournaments. After graduating from North Hills, Bill attended Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls, New York where he received a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in Economics and Philosophy. He was encouraged by his advisors at Eisenhower to apply to Columbia Law School in New York City where he was accepted and earned his J.D. degree in 1976. His law school years were formative, and he made sure we all knew his faculty advisor was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
While he never entirely let go of his dream of being a stand-up comedian, Bill entered into the legal field, settling in the Capital Region. He briefly worked in private practice before joining The Golub Corporation’s legal team. Bill’s career there spanned almost four decades, where he served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel and trusted friend and advisor to the Golub family and board of directors; he retired in 2016. While at Golub, he generously used his keen intellect and innovative approach to the law to assist his teammates at all levels of the organization. He valued the opportunity he had to serve as a mentor to many young professionals over those years.
In addition to this long tenure at Price Chopper’s headquarters, Bill was active in the community and a civic leader. He served in executive positions on the boards of City Mission of Schenectady, Ellis Hospital, the regional chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Salvation Army, and the New Horizon Christian Counseling Center. He led efforts to revitalize sections of Schenectady near the City Mission and build the Mission’s Family Life Center and Campbell Dining Center. Bill was also a member of West Glenville Reformed Church for 35+ years serving as Elder, Deacon and Search Committee chair over those years. On most Sundays you would find Bill at his church playing guitar as part of the music program. He loved and cared for those in the congregation and in turn the congregation loved and cared for him showering him with numerous cards, letters, prayers and well wishes over the six years that Bill battled his illness.
In addition to his legal career and his philanthropic endeavors, Bill pursued a wide array of other interests. He was a certified Kansas City Barbecue judge, a part owner of Wolf Hollow Brewing Company and Buzzard’s Bay Barbeque, enjoyed riding his e-bike throughout the Glenville hills, owned a couple of Harleys over the years, and loved taking folks for rides in his Jaguar sports coupe. He produced concerts and plays including Weep Jeremiah, Majesty of Easter and Michael Card. He was a founding member of the McFubars, an Irish band that he performed with on many a St. Patrick’s Day in many locations including raucously big parties in his home, Monaco’s, the Cock-n-Bull Restaurant, the Wolf Hollow Brewing Company’s tap room, and an award winning float in the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade. God blessed him with a dear friend, Ken Shea, whom he credits with bringing music back into his life and teaching him guitar. He loved vacationing at Walt Disney World and spent many hours RVing to Florida with the 5 kids and various family members; he found great joy in his journeys. His beach house in Westport, MA was his place of serenity and peace and he would drive there on a moment’s notice to experience the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean air. But golfing, and the good folks at The Edison Club, was his last love. In his later years he spent many memorable mornings or afternoons - or both - golfing; mostly with his much-loved sons Thomas and Patrick. But also with many of his retired Golub friends, or other friends old and new, who he cared about very much and stayed in touch with until his death. He also loved playing the Disney courses in the winter and shared many happy rounds over the years in the warmth and sunshine with family and friends and lunch at Olivia’s always followed.
Bill is survived by his wife of 38 years and bestest friend, Jennifer (Davis) Kenneally who he adored from the beginning when he was seated next to her by Phyllis Cohen at her son’s bar mitzvah to the end as she held his hand as the good Lord took him home. He is also survived by his five children, Jessica (Reynolds-Kenneally) Seifert (Ryan) of Garden City, NY, Patrick Kenneally (Marcie) of Glenville, Carrie (Kenneally) Arretche (Patrick) of Bayonne, France, Grace Kenneally (Manish Sapkota) of Washington, DC and Thomas Kenneally of Ballston Lake. Bill has six grandchildren, Benjamin and Andrew Seifert, Jack Kennedy, Jr., Kendall and Harvey Kenneally and Raphael Arretche. His big sister who he idolized, Donna (Kenneally) Hirt of Pittsburgh, PA also survives him. There were also many nieces and nephews in his life; in New York he is UB2 and in Pittsburgh he is Uncle Billy.
He was predeceased by his sister Patricia (Kenneally) Jones of Butler, PA and brother Thomas Hayden of Tampa, FL.
A burial service will take place at West Glenville Cemetery adjacent to West Glenville Reformed Church at 2:00 PM on Friday, December 11. All are welcome to attend in accordance with social distancing guidelines. In addition, the family will be available starting at 12 noon in the pavilion off the church’s parking lot to greet guests who might not be able to attend the burial.
A joyous, grand celebration of the life of William James Kenneally will be held at a later date when we can sing and laugh and hug and cry as we remember this brave, kind, brilliant and generous man. To leave a message, a condolence, post a picture or share a story for Bill’s family, please visit billkenneally.forevermissed.com.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the City Mission of Schenectady, 425 Hamilton Street, Schenectady, NY 12305.
Arrangements are by the Bond Funeral Home 1614 Guilderland Avenue Schenectady.