Bill Speaks (Audio And Video)

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October 30, 2007

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Jim Lites

My sincere condolences to the Blackshaw family for the loss of Bill. I am so glad Dana and I had a chance to spend a few weeks with Bill and Jay last summer. I spent a lot of time talking to him and admire him for how he and Jay came to be married. It is a great testament to his character and commitment to family to take on young children along with the woman he fell in love with. How many men would to that today? Bill had such a great sense of humor and certainly passed on his great creativity to Peter. He amused Dana when he said his favorite subject in school was always recess...Also, glad there was actually evidence of the bear in the backyard, otherwise they may have thought Dana and I were looney. We will miss Bill too and join with everyone in preserving fond memories of him.

Jim Lites

Brendan Keleher

Dear Aunt Jay and Cousins,

Mary, my kids and I offer our deepest condolences for your loss of Uncle Bill. He was a wonderful man, truly one-of-a-kind, and, next to my Dad, was the most influential male role model I had as a boy. I have many fond boyhood memories of the times I spent with him when he taught me how to develop photographs, took me on my first airplane trip, allowed me to “help” produce a commercial, and just let me follow him around while I peppered him with questions. I’m sure I must have been a pest most of the time, yet he never let on and always made me feel special whenever I was with him.

As an adult, I particularly enjoyed my occasional one-on-one conversations with him. He seemed to have an endless supply of interesting (and often humorous) stories to tell. Even on his deathbed, his great sense of humor never left him. When Jan and I arrived to visit with him last Wednesday, at first, he pretended not to know us, feebly pointing at us and mumbling “Johnny? Colleen? Miles?” And then he started laughing, having completely duped us into believing he was totally disoriented, when, in fact, he was as sharp as a tack.

Uncle Bill was a generous, thoughtful, intellectually curious, honest, humorous, non-judgmental man, to name a few of his great qualities. I am a better person because of him and I know that many, many others are as well. We will greatly miss him.

Love, Brendan, Mary, Madeline, Shannon and Katrina

Ron Grauer

A MAN OF GREAT COURAGE
I first met Bill, Jay and the kids in the late 60's when we moved to the Sierra Madre Villa neighborhood. Bill enjoyed talking about airplanes and I was a commercial pilot. One night I suggested we go for a ride sometime. Whereupon Bill, with his famous "oh yeah?" smile said "how about right now"?
So we got to the airport around 9 or 10 in the evening-- a dark, dark evening-- with our two young, soon to see puberty, sons in tow.
As we walked to my plane I hesitated near the hanger and proceeded to remove a contact lense from my eye and wash it under a water spigot.
When I stood up after replacing the lense I saw Bill, standing very still, eyes turned upward, speaking softly to Mary, each sentence punctuated by crossing himself... "Hail Mary. Mother of God...what am I doing...with my first borne son...it's a dark night...I'm going to get in an airplane piloted by an artist... who just took out his eye and washed it before putting it back...have I lost my mind"?
" Bill", I interupted, "it's okay, we don't have to go if this bothers you"...
In return I received one of those giant Blackshaw grins, a big hug, a HAH! and a loud and clear, "let's go"!
If the roles were reversed I'm not sure I would gone flying that night.
That was over 35 years ago and was the beginning of a warm unforgetable friendship. I miss thinking you're all still on Sierra Madre Villa, Bill.
Ron Grauer

Maura McKinley

I remember Uncle Bill as such
an interesting, kind person. One of my first memories of him was at that
reunion in Colorado; we talked a lot about violin and he asked me what I
would want to have with me if I ever had to go to prison: music or
books. I don't remember what I said, but I have thought about it a lot
since. I am so happy that I got to know him; I know he was the favorite
uncle of all the Kelehers. I will really miss him. I am so sorry for
your loss, and I am thinking of you, your family and Aunt Jay.

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