Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

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Bill Killilea

Honoring Diane's Commitment to Education

Bill and Diane Killilea

In June 2000, Bill Killilea lost his beloved wife, Diane, to cancer. Bill and the couple’s children wanted to find a significant way to honor her memory and her commitment to Catholic education—specifically, to Marian High School, where all seven of the Killilea children went to school. A scholarship fund with the Community Foundation turned out to be the perfect solution.

The Diane R. Killilea Memorial Scholarship Fund provides two annual scholarships to Marian High School sophomores during their junior and senior years. Nearly $10,000 has been distributed from the fund since 2004.

At first, the amount of each scholarship  was $500. Over the years, though, Bill has continued to build the fund diligently. His children have gotten involved, too, as well as other members of the Killilea family and friends of Diane. Because of this ongoing attention, each Diane R. Killilea Memorial Scholarship now provides a deserving Marian student with $700 of support. Bill has made the fund a part of his will, too. In the future, he’d like to increase the annual amount of the award to $1,000.

“And I’m still hopeful that, as time goes on, we can increase the number of scholarships the fund awards so that we can benefit more students,” Bill says.

For Bill, this scholarship is more than just a check. Every spring, he attends Marian’s awards ceremony, providing a personal congratulations to each of the young scholarship winners. That makes the support that the fund provides even more meaningful to the recipients —and to Bill and his family, as well.

“Each one of those relationships has been very special to us,” he says.