Obituary: William R. Killen, 91

by | May 21, 2023

As a young chemist, he was instrumental in developing and patenting the formula for Spandex

William R. Killen, 91, formerly of Wakefield and East Greenwich, passed away peacefully on May 17. Bill was the beloved husband of the late Mary (Duggan) Killen. They were married for 62 years. Born in Fall River, Mass., on July 29, 1931, he was the son of the late William and Charlotte Killen. 

He graduated from Worcester Academy, attended Northeastern University, and graduated from RISD with a degree in Chemistry. He served in the US Navy during the Korean War. 

Bill worked for Globe Manufacturing and Crown Chemical before starting his own company, Polychem Corporation, a family owned business for 21 years. In the years following, he was the consulting chemist for RBC Industries. 

Bill was an innovative and talented man. As a young chemist at Globe Manufacturing, he was instrumental in developing and patenting the formula for Spandex. Over the years, he developed many products for industry including the medical, automotive, jewelry and arts and crafts sectors. 

He loved adventure and in his younger days you could find him skiing and snowmobiling on the mountains in New Hampshire. On warm summer days, he enjoyed boating, jet skiing and a good game of golf. He was a hobbyist and always looked forward to the next challenge. Whether it was making wine, building grandfather clocks, assembling model airplanes, or erecting enormous electric train sets, he was passionate about everything he endeavored to do. Bill was an avid gardener and enjoyed planting and nourishing his beautiful plants and flowers. 

Bill loved the “New Hampshire house” and enjoyed sitting by the fire surrounded by family and friends on cold winter nights. He was a great storyteller and he had many stories to tell. One could sit for hours listening to his adventures. He enjoyed dining out with family and friends and often relaxed with a “bone dry” martini. Most of all, Bill was a family man. 

He adored his beautiful wife, Mary, and took great pride in all of his children and grandchildren. As we say goodbye to a father that was so loved, we will take solace in knowing that he is once again with our beloved Mother…until we meet again

He is survived by his three children, Karlene Kelly, Karen McKenzie and William Killen IV, along with 7 grandchildren. 

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday May 26 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis De Sales Church, 381 School St., North Kingstown. Burial will be private. Calling hours are respectfully omitted. 

You can leave an online condolence at the Hill Funeral Home website HERE.

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EG News Obituary Policy: We post obituaries relevant to our readers. If you would like to share an obituary, send it to [email protected]. Put “obituary” in the subject line. 

Posted 5/21/23

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