John F. Tierney Funeral Home
219 West Center Street
Manchester, CT 06040-4857
(860) 643-1222
More Obituaries for William KEARNS
Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name?

William "Billy" KEARNS

Obituary Condolences

William "Billy" KEARNS Obituary

KEARNS, William "Billy"

William "Billy" Kearns, 86, peacefully passed to eternal life on February 3, 2013 at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center in East Hartford, CT. Billy was pre-deceased by his parents, William and Margaret (Hagman) Kearns. Born in Bristol, Connecticut on September 7, 1926 his family later moved to Hartford where he soon learned from "the streets" what it was like to survive. When he was only 15, living in the Parkville section of Hartford, he had a job setting up pins at a local bowling alley. One day while playing cards he got into a fight with three adult men which he ended up winning. A local boxing promoter happened to see the fight and took young Billy under his wing, saying, "You shouldn't waste your talent." He then suggested going over to the Charter Oak Gym to hone his talents. This is where he would meet the likes of two time World Champion "Willie Pep," Umberto "Big Boy" Carilli (who sparred with Joe Louis) and timekeeper Lou Della Ripa and many others like boxing promoter Manny Leibert that became lifelong friends. He became Willie's sparring partner getting him ready for many a boxing match especially against both Sandy Saddler fights. He then went on to win the title of New England Welterweight champ. He served in the U.S. Navy, as the Armed Guard on the SS Mark Hanna and SS Frank E Spencer Merchant Ships serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during World War II. After boxing, Billy then became an officer with the Hartford Police Department retiring with the rank of detective after 32 years. He was awarded countless Letters of Commendation as well as a Medal of Valor. This was awarded when he apprehended a person wanted for murder while he was off duty. He was also elected President of the Hartford Police Union two times and was President of the Police Athletic League. He then became "Top Cop" in 1972. In 1974 he received a Proclamation from the then Mayor George Athanson, proclaiming May 23rd as "Billy Kearns Day" for his outstanding accomplishments in stamping out crime. When they visited Hartford, he worked the security for Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Greg Morris, Andy Williams, and Evel Knievel. After he retired from HPD he then started his own detective agency. Billy was also an accomplished weight lifter and bodybuilder having been awarded over 30 trophies. The one he was most proud of was at the 1961 New York World's Fair. He also became the oldest "Mr. Connecticut" when he won that title in 1964. In 1994 he received another Proclamation from the State of CT for his outstanding boxing record and 32 years of service at the Hartford Police Dept. He leaves behind his loving wife of 25 years Janet Ahl-Kearns of Manchester CT, his sister Margaret and brother-in-law Robert of Minnesota, his sister-in-law Justine Kearns of California and his sister-in-law Diane Kearns of Georgia. He is also survived by a son Bruce Kearns and wife Tracy Wring of Colchester, CT, a son Robert Kearns and wife Glenda of New Hampshire, two grandchildren, Luke and Jessica, and two great-grandchildren, along with many nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his daughter, Karen, along with brothers Arthur, James, and Paul. The family would like to thank the Staff at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center especially the CNA's, nurses, and other professionals on 3 CD for the loving care they provided Billy. We know you will miss him as much as we do.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the CT Humane Society, 701 Russell Road Newington, CT 06111. Services will be held at the John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 West Center Street Manchester Saturday (2/9) from 2-5 with military honors being rendered at 5 at the funeral home. For online condolences please visit Tierneyfuneralhome.com.


Published in The Hartford Courant on Feb. 6, 2013
Read More