A friend of a friend-Bill Zell Sr-Bill Zell Jr.

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for November 27, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

On Thanksgiving morning I was busy deep frying eight turkeys for friends and family. It has become the Kenney tradition that we fix turkeys for others. During the morning people stop by in my Lumberton NC back yard to talk and of course pick up their turkey.

Part of the crowd stopping by in my backyard during the turkey fry. Front Row (l-r) Joe Terranova, John Revels, Roger Parramore, Connor Haskins, Dan Kenney. Back Row -(l-r) Bill Zell, Wiley Barrett, and John Haskins.

Turkey Pick up

One of the people I fixed a turkey for this year was Wiley and Dianne Barret. When Wiley drove down from his home in Southern Pines, NC that morning he had two great friends with him Roger Parramore and Bill Zell.

My wife and I had met Bill and his wife Pam in the summer of 2013 when we hosted a Cajun dinner party for a group of Wiley’s friends from Moore County, NC.

Wiley Barrett’s Dinner party guests. Bill and Wiley in back row on far right.

Cajun Dinner

Bill is the Town Manager for Aberdeen, NC and I found out that he had just lost his dad on Monday.

Bill was appointed as the Aberdeen’s Town Manager on March 3, 2003.  Prior to coming to Aberdeen, Bill spent approximately 12 years with Davidson County in Lexington, North Carolina working in several department head level positions.  He started his public service career as Davidson County’s first Purchasing Agent in 1990 and was the Human Resource Director when he left in 2002.

Bill graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, IL in 1974, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education.  In 2000, Bill earned his Masters of Public Affairs degree from UNC-Greensboro.

Bill is a native of Miami, Florida.  He and his wife Pam (a native of Detroit, Michigan) have three children (all boys) Justin, Jordan, and Evan.

As we talked in my backyard I knew that Bill was thankful for the life his dad had lived.

The Friend- BILL ZELL Jr.-shown with Dianne Barrett

Bill Zell Jr

The Friend of the Friend- BILL ZELL Sr.

Bill Zell Sr


Firefighter to Church Servant

I never met Bill’s dad but his obituary was pretty informative and spoke volumes about the high values he had in his life. Those are values everyone that knew him surely were thankful for.

“Bill” Zell, 86, died on Monday, November 23, 2015. Fire chief, basketball star and patriarch of his sprawling family, he leaves a legacy of love, faith, and humor for all of those whose lives he touched. He was never a man who could go unnoticed, and his booming voice and mischievous twinkle in his eye commanded any room he was in. His love for his family and for the Lord leaves behind a legacy of a life lived to the fullest, and a life that was a blessing to everyone he met.

Bill was born April 1, 1929 in Miami, Florida to John and Elizabeth Zell. He joined the US Army Air Corps (later the US Air Force) in 1946 at the age of 17. He served for three years, and upon his discharge he returned to Florida. He married Aline Sanders on September 3, 1950, and remained by her side for 65 years until his passing.

Bill worked a series of jobs until he found his life’s calling as a firefighter in 1963. He rose through the ranks of the Hialeah, Florida Fire Department to become a battalion chief, and retired in 1987. Bill accepted Christ as his personal Savior in 1952, and he and Aline have served faithfully since as members of their local Nazarene churches. Bill and Aline had a burden for reaching the poorest members of their community, particularly children and youth.

In the mid 1990’s the Lord led them to create a community outreach food pantry at the Pineville Church of the Nazarene in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they served there faithfully until their move to Olathe, Kansas. They have immensely enjoyed the time they have spent with their children and grandchildren, first in Charlotte, North Carolina and more recently in Olathe, Kansas.

Bill is survived by his wife, Aline, his children Bill (wife Pam), JoAnne (husband Dan), Janet (husband Mark), and Phil (wife Kathy), 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, his brother Jim Zell and sister Roberta Frye.



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