BYU faculty member dies from heart surgery complications


    By Andrew Damstedt

    A BYU faculty member died Saturday after complications from heart surgery. William Keoniana Kelly, 60, known to many as ?Uncle Bill? suffered heart failure during an operation.

    Kelly taught a Hawaiian language class at BYU and taught Polynesian dance classes off-campus.

    He was the director of a performing group called the Aloha Islanders for thirty years. His daughter, Kau?i Tuia, helped him teach the performers different dances from many Pacific Islands.

    ?My dad was the type of person that you could talk to very easily,? Tuia said. ?The one thing that amazes me is that he loved going to Sam?s Club and every time he went there he always met someone walking by or someone who worked there and talked to them. He could meet somebody and talk to them as if he had known them forever.?

    Kelly married Nani Olsen in the Hawaii Temple 35 years ago. He had seven children and 14 grandchildren.

    ?He loved to sing and dance, chant to the beat of his ipu, and strum his ukulele,? wrote Kelly?s son-in-law Andrew Jones in a memorial Web site. ?Bill also devoted many hours to teach halau and could cook the best kalua pig and long rice this side of the Wasatch.?

    In addition to teaching classes at BYU, Kelly organized many conferences and workshops about Polynesian culture.

    ?He?s just a really outgoing person, the first time you met him he wanted you to call him uncle,? said Jenny Uyema, an Aloha Islander dancer. ?He taught a lot of people about Hawaiian culture.?

    A funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 10 at the Aspen Stake Center, 965 West 2000 North, Orem. A viewing open to friends and family will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 South State in Orem.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email