To the Covell Family,
It is very difficult to sum up the life of a man that was beloved by so many and was more than just a business associate to me. Bill was my best friend, my brother and I loved him. When the news of Bill’s untimely passing was circulated to his friends and colleagues across the State last week, the response was overwhelming. Phone calls, text messages and emails expressing shock, dismay and heart-felt sympathy came pouring in. Bill was appreciated by all that knew him. So, please allow me to share with you just a few of the emails I received last week:
Greg Horn, City Manager of the City of Centerville wrote: “I will remember Bill for his warm smile, cutting wit and ornery, unique laugh. He ‘lived life large’ and made those around him always feel a little better. He was a proud father who talked glowingly about his Reds and Bengals outings with his son Jason and those special times at Siesta Key that he cherished with Gay. In his government service Bill was fearless… always ready to tackle the big projects and never hesitant to stand his ground when challenged. We have lost our friend and colleague far too soon. Bill was truly ‘one of a kind’”
Matt Kridler, Former City Manager of Springfield, wrote: “My time with Bill will always be cherished. Wherever & whenever, there was hospitality with our group, he would always be there. Full of jokes & fun. We played quite a few rounds of golf sometimes with a few more “spirits” than was helpful. BUT the game of golf was never about winning as much as the enjoying the time together with a group. My son (Kyle) – hopeful to go into city management – was very sad to hear about Bill. He said Bill was always very nice to him at conferences & made him feel very welcome. Bill was a leader in our profession & I will always be thankful for the time I could spend with him & call him my friend. He will surely be missed.”
Mike Burns, City Manager of Indian Hills, wrote: “We all loved Bill’s unique personality, unfettered wit, and ever present humor, and we thoroughly enjoyed any time we spent with him… We know that his untimely death is especially painful to Gay, Jason, Sybil, little Vincent, and to his good friend, colleague, and mentee, Brad Townsend. I won’t be able to get up to the service on Tuesday, but I’ll make a donation in his memory, and I want you to know that our thoughts are with you and his family.”
Former City of West Carrollton City Manager Tracy Williams wrote: “I am very saddened by the news. We just have to enjoy each day as we never know when our time here will end. Bill was a good friend to all and so dedicated to public service. He will truly be missed. Sincere condolences”
Chris Thompson, City Manager of the City of Springboro wrote: “Bill hired me as a part time employee while he was managing the City of Springboro 23 years ago. It is because of Bill that I am actually now one of his protégés in local government management because shortly after hiring me, he said he would fire me if I didn’t agree to work full time! Well, I accepted the full time job he offered and am still here working in Springboro….I have described Bill to many people over the years and especially this week to those who didn’t know him too well as a risk taker…..in the Dayton region, Bill was larger than life itself ! He never compromised on how he saw things and did exactly what he thought was right – which is, in the end, all any of us can do. I thank him for his friendship, his mentoring, his vision and for some great things for the Springboro community and the region that without him would have quite possibly never been done at all! Thank you Bill – I will miss running into you around town – it won’t feel the same.”
Bill was also beloved by the business community in the Dayton region that he interacted with often in his second career as an economic development professional.
Mark Fornes of Fornes Realty wrote: “Bill was one of the most talented Economic Development professionals in the Dayton region- his early efforts in Springboro were legendary- dozens of new companies and thousands of jobs located there. In addition- Heatherwoode Golf Course. Later on, we watched Bill channel his unique talent into the re-development of the West Carrollton/I- 75 Interchange. If anyone in the public sector could get the job done- against all odds- it was Bill. He will be greatly missed”.
Julia Maxton, President of the South Metro Chamber of Commerce wrote: “Bill is well known by many of us as a huge Economic influence in our area. His long career included landmark development in Springboro and Centerville as well as West Carrollton. His death is untimely and (he) will be missed.”
Darek Teeters, West Carrollton Plant Manager for the Veolia Corporation, wrote:“I only got to know Bill three years ago and am sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with him. Bill was good at what he did because he cared about people. In the time that I knew Bill, he was happy. In the time that I knew Bill, he was kind. In the time that I knew Bill, every time we spoke, he spoke about his family. Bill, in my opinion, represents what every man should aim to be – happy with what they have, kind to all, and determined when it comes to loving their families.”
Finally, from those of us that had the great please of being able to work with Bill these past four years, from the staff of the City of West Carrollton….
Erika Mattingly, our Public Relations Coordinator, wrote: “I always looked forward to our weekly b.s. sessions in my office to discuss everything from politics to raising children. Because they were very close in age, we often would talk about the progression of his grandson Vincent and my son Sawyer…how long it took before they started walking, what was the best method to brain wash them into loving the Bengals (for me, Browns). During our discussions, Bill would often teach me valuable lessons from his past experiences in City Government. My favorite was ‘never take a meeting unless it’s scheduled for lunch time…and preferably have them pay’. Bill was always gracious to me and very generous to my family over the past four years, and he will be missed.”
Carie Cottongim, my Administrative Assistant, wrote:“Please tell Gay and Jason what a wonderful man I thought Bill was and that he will be dearly missed. Bill was very ornery, friendly and cared and talked about his family and his passion for pets all the time. (He was) Always showing pictures of the new pets he was fostering. My thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s family at this time of sorrow. I hope all his memories will help soften the loss of such a wonderful person.”
Tom Reilly, our Finance Director, wrote:“I will always remember Bill’s hearty laugh, quick humor, creative mind, kindness towards animals, and love of his grandson. I’m still in a state of shock and expect to hear his robust chuckle booming from the conference room any minute. I will carry his experienced advice and playful, witty approach to life with me on the rest of my journey.”
As for me, in the 22 years that we were together, Bill taught me about this crazy business we call city management and about life. Bill was my leader. It is said that leaders do not follow public opinion, they form it. That is what made Bill so special.
But, summing it up for all of us that worked with Bill these past four years,
Greg Gaines our City Planner wrote: “They say you learn something from everyone you encounter. Here are my top ten tongue-in-cheek lessons I learned from working with Bill….
10. You can be a Democrat and have long hair and still be able to work with businesspeople.
9. Sometimes it’s more fun to spend time with your dogs than with people…well, actually most of the time.
8 Every now and then you need to do something to get your ass kicked, just for the fun of it.
7. Democracy is overrated, especially when you’re trying to accomplish something.
6. Some of the best plans ever were drawn on cocktail napkins…of course, after you drink the cocktail.
5. The Bengals and Reds stink, but it could be worse: we could be Cubs fans.
4. It’s fun to read the newspaper on the john while everyone else is waiting in line.
3. A McDonald’s sausage biscuit and senior coffee: life doesn’t get any better than this.
2. A bad day in Siesta Key is WAY better than a good day at work.
1. When you poke fun at everything, life doesn’t seem near as bad.
From your friends and colleagues, Good Bye Bill and rest in peace.
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