TIGHT-knit communities across the south-west have been left reeling with the sudden passing of Bill Feely.
The gifted sportsman, loving husband of Kerryn and father of Tom and Ally, was a great friend and teammate to many in sporting clubs across the region.
Mr Feely's footy career commenced at St Mary's in Hamilton before playing for Monivae College and then Hamilton Imperials. His ability was noted at a young age as he did pre-season training at Collingwood under coach John Cahill in 1983 after winning the best and fairest award at Imps in 1982 but the bright lights of Melbourne were not for him. He arrived back home to play for Imps in 1983, 1984 and 1985 before playing for Koroit in 1986. Mr Feely continued his footy career in 1987 with Coleraine where he filled numerous roles including senior coach, player, president and junior coach over many years.
My Feely's daughter Ally gave a moving tribute to The Standard saying her dad was a dedicated, passionate husband and father.
"Dad was a true gentleman with a heart of gold and we are so privileged to have had him in our lives," she said. "He had some amazing sayings relating to sport and life including 'never leave anything in the tank.' Another of his sayings was 'self praise is no praise'."
Former top local footballer Mick Edmonds, who was a teammate of Mr Feely at Imperials has fond memories of his ability as a footballer and cricketer.
"Bill was admired for his sporting prowess," Edmonds said. "He was tough and very skilful as a footballer and put in 100 per cent on the footy field and the cricket ground. He was a very talented sportsman. Personally, I used to admire Bill for the time he would put in to assist and teach young players whether it was for footy or cricket. He was always there to offer someone assistance. His passing is tragic not only his family but for so many other people who had came in contact with him in his life."
Koroit football legend Anthony Mahony remembered the impact his teammate had at the Saints in 1986.
"Bill was a bloody good footballer and a champion bloke," Mahony said. "He had wonderful vision as a footballer and had amazing skills on both sides of his body. Koroit was devastated that he only had the one season with us in 1986. It was a sad day when he decided to leave the club and head up to Coleraine."
Three years ago Kerryn and Bill moved to Port Fairy where he took over the role as joint senior coach at the Port Fairy Cricket Club last year. President Matt Dempsey said Bill had a calming influence around the club.
"Bill was a great people's person," he said. "Bill's passing has rocked everyone at the club. He was a genuine person who gave so much to others."
Mr Feely will have a private family funeral next Thursday.
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