The Hardest Words Of All To Write
The term father-in-law always sounded too clinical, too pat. And if you knew big Bill Kerrigan, a man larger than life, you'd probably agree. He died early this morning, in his own bed, among those who loved him best. He leaves behind a lifetime of good works, and a giant heart which he didn't take with him, but which he instead parcelled out to everyone he ever knew. I'll spend the rest of my life thinking about, and thanking him for, all the things he taught me.
William A. Kerrigan, 81, Former United Way Executive, Father of Nine
William (Bill) A. Kerrigan, a longtime executive of United Way and later the co-proprieter (with his wife Mary) of the Billow House, a popular oceanfront guesthouse in Ocean Park, Maine, died on December 23rd. The cause was complications from cancer. He was 81 at the time of his death.
Mr. Kerrigan was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He later graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and earned a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was married in 1953 to the former Mary O’Toole, a native of Dorchester, Mass. The couple went on to have nine children and 20 grandchildren.
During his career, Mr. Kerrigan steadily climbed the United Way management ladder, working in Boston; Ashtabula, Ohio; Albany; and Westchester County, New York, among other stops. He ended his career as the top executive of the United Way of Greater Cleveland. At a 1987 party in Cleveland, held to mark his retirement from the United Way after 42 years, it was calculated that $618 million had been raised under his leadership in various postings over the years. Two of his children, his son Chris and daughter Bernadette, now work for United Way.
He is survived by his wife Mary, of Ocean Park, Maine; his brother Joseph of Nashua, New Hampshire; and his nine children--Maureen Wearn, of Portland, Oregon; Bill Kerrigan, Jr., of Wellesley, Mass.; Monica Kerrigan, currently on assignment in Indonesia; James Kerrigan of Mountain View, Calif.; Julie Kerrigan Ettorre of Cleveland, Ohio; Chris of Charleston, S.C.; Bernadette, of Cleveland; and Seanna, of Portland, Oregon. Funeral services will be held on December 27th at Most Holy Trinity Church in Saco, Maine. Visitors will be received at Cole Funeral Home, 87 James Street, Saco, Maine, on December 26, from 5-7 p.m.. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent in his name to the Hospice of Southern Maine.
See the death notice and visit the guest book here.