We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Penland Family Funeral Home
Our beloved William Hall McKelvy, born September 05,1938, aged 83, passed away surrounded by his beautiful wife, Heather, and precious animals on June 24th, 2022. He was a long-time resident of Greenville Maine, Miami Florida, and Swannanoa North Carolina. He was the Son of Cleo Rollings McKelvy and Jeremiah Dwight McKelvy, who preceded him in death, as well as beloved in-laws George and Olga Huscha, and brother Jeremiah Hall McKelvy. He is survived by his wife Julie Huscha McKelvy, “The Kid” Heather Shaw Melchiori, and “Kid JR., Isabella Guilliana Melchiori. He is also survived by nieces and nephews Mrs. Geri Lynn, M. Harrison and family, Mrs. Elizabeth Norton and family, Miss Sharon Louise McKelvy and family, and Mr. William Dwight McKelvy and family, and other extended family and many dear friends.
After attending New York Military Academy as the youngest student to ever be enrolled, and attending high school at the Choate Rosemary Hall, William (Bill) was well liked and known to be a great friend, amazing athlete, and where his signature McKelvy style was just starting to take form. Continuing his love of country Bill joined the United States Marine Corp at the age of seventeen with the blessing and signature of his parents. He was the top qualifier in his Platoon, an expert rifleman, specially qualified with .45 Browning Automatic Firearms, earning a Distinguished Service Award. He received outstanding review on Graduation Day by the most decorated marine, General “Chesty” Puller. His military service was as extensive as it was impressive, from cold weather training at Pico Meadows, Okinawa to the Philippines for amphibious assault training, to 9th Marines, 3rd Div. MOS 60 mm mortars to Small Arms Tech. Bill was the essence of Semper Fi.
After his time in the Marine Corps, Bill attended New York University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His non-profit work was notable if not legendary, starting with the The P.A.N.D.A.S., the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Amongst Students of Miami, Florida, City Councilman, Vice Chairman and Partner of Moosehead Sanitary District of Greenville, Maine; but what he was perhaps most proud of, was his considerable body of work with animal rights activities in Buncombe County North Carolina, spanning from 1994 to present. He and his wife Julie have lived a life of philanthropy, enhancing and touching those most in need.
Bill was cut from a different cloth, the kind of man who never turned his back on anyone in need. He had impeccable manners, was always dressed in his dapper style and signature handlebar mustache. It was outside of the storied Drake Hotel in New York that fate stepped in. He collided into the most beautiful woman, Julie Huscha, and the chase ensued. Bill was determined to make her his bride and he turned on his McKelvy charm, even impressing her protective parents. The love affair that most people dream of began: “My Bride” as he always referred to Julie, was his first and last thought everyday of their fifty three year marriage. Their devotion, support and love for one another never wavered. They made the most dashing couple, to become the toast of both New York and Miami. It was not long before Bill’s Godmother, Connie Dinkler, owner of the exclusive Palm Bay Club, recognized the power of the love between her Godson and Julie. She hosted one of the most beautiful weddings that set the stage for their future. They began their married life together, making their home at the Palm Bay Club. An avid Pro Am tennis player, he beat professionals such as Pancho Gonzales, Ash Williams and other remarkable pros. This is where he established P.A.N.D.A., helping young girls and boys with addiction at ground zero during the height of the Drug War, receiving letters of gratitude from First Lady Nancy Reagan and other dignitaries. Juggling a married life and continuing to give back, Bill felt the longing to return to his most beloved childhood spot Moosehead Lake, in Greenville, Maine, with his wife by his side.
Bill and Julie together, endeavored in protection efforts for Moosehead Lake, one of the largest glacier lakes in the United States, recognizing the need for proper environmental protection and filtration to keep the waters pristine for future generations to come. He served as City Councilman and Vice Chairman of Moosehead Sanitary District, Greenville Maine, as well as the Vice Commodore, and Commodore of the Moosehead Yacht Club. In True Bill Mckelvy fashion not only did he and his bride fly all of their friends in from around the country, but also invited all of the residents of Greenville, Maine to celebrate his 40th Birthday, a three day extravaganza, which is still talked about to this day. On one of their infamous road trips, he and his wife discovered and fell in love with quaint Swannanoa, on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina.
Bill and Julie found their perfect winter home in the mountains of North Carolina. He was a true renaissance man who never met a problem he wasn’t interested in solving. This led to over thirty years of animal related community service, and an incredible wealth of contributions and leadership. This includes but is not limited to: Buncombe County Animal Advisory Board, Animal Cruelty Investigation, Animal Services Advisory Board, Board of Directors for the Buncombe County Advisory Committee, Asheville Humane Society, South Carolina’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Haywood County’s Animal Welfare Association, Transylvania County’s Humane Society, the Animal Coalition of Transylvania County and Vice President, and the Madison County Animal Shelter Coalition. He was a lifetime member of Friends for Animals since 1986. He served on the Board of Directors from 1986-1992, and from 1994-2000. He had served two terms as President and one as Vice President. He served as Chairman of benefactor groups: Contract Committee, bringing the County Shelter under the management of Buncombe County Friends for Animals, and the Animal Control Committee. He chaired Nomination, Public Relations, Overpopulation Committee and Other Committees: By-Laws, Shelter, Spay/Neuter, Budget, Paw Prints Newsletter, Animal Control, Long Range Planning, Fund Raising, and New Shelter Planning and Construction.
He Founded The Humane Alliance of WNC Inc., the spay/neuter clinic, serving Buncombe County and twenty-six outlying counties, and thirty nine non profit organizations and municipal shelters with low-cost Spay/Neuter services. The clinic has performed over 36,000 procedures since May of 1994. He served eleven years as President, and retired in 2005 as President Emeritus. The clinic is still instrumental in training humane organizations nationwide. They now act as a teaching facility for the continuing education of veterinarians and an Externship program for seniors in vet schools. He earned numerous honors such as being nominated for “Veterinarian Of The Year” by The Asheville Veterinarian Association, Buncombe County Commissioners Certificate of Appreciation, and the Asheville Humane Society Honorarium: Vision for Community and Animals. on December 15,1992 Bill was appointed by Buncombe County Commissioners “Lifetime Watchdog and Advocate For Buncombe County Animal Shelter” He served Buncombe County in other ways as well, continuing his work with addiction programs, such as the Buncombe County Drug Commission, United Way Citizen’s Review Board, the NAACP Citizens Advisory Committee, and the HSUS Regional Legislative Committee.
Bill enjoyed good health for most of his life, however last year he required a great deal of healthcare. His wife Julie, Heather, and Isabella would like to offer their heartfelt gratitude to his caregivers Jillian Krombach, Moreen Elisaaon, Dan Brown, Gabrielle Alexander, Emma McPhiliam, DR. Leslie Koretz, Mr. Jeff Lefkovitz, inventor of the MAS and Four-Seasons, who displayed their devotion to Bill every day. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Penland Family Funeral Home, from the moment they arrived we were treated with such love as we watched how respectfully they took our loved one into their care. His passion to serve and help animals in need has inspired countless people. With his wife Julie leading the way, Heather, Isabella, Denise, Maureen, and several other of Bill’s colleagues will continue his rich legacy by honoring his memory and following his road map by starting a foundation in his honor “The William Hall McKelvy Legacy Fund”.
There are no words to express how deeply we are missing our husband, friend, hero; our patriarch. In keeping with the McKelvy tradition, there will be a celebration of his life in the near future at Bill and Julie’s beloved home in Western North Carolina. The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to make a donation to The William Hall McKelvy Legacy Fund through Edward Jones (Pamela Tegge 828-686-3783), providing a pathway for animals and their humans to stay together. We look forward to visiting and hearing everybody’s personal memories from his dear friends and loved ones, spanning his lifetime from Greenwich, Connecticut, New York, Miami, Moosehead Lake, to the majestic mountains of North Carolina, with laughter and love. Semper Fi.
Online Condolences may be made at penlandfamilyfuneralhome.com
Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the McKelvy family at this time.