By Barb Arland-Fye
The late John Kiley loved music, people and his job as social action director for the Diocese of Davenport. His widow, Katie, and their children and friends have been working to endow a $25,000 scholarship fund named in honor of John.
On Nov. 8, family and friends are hosting a first-time Rock ‘n Roll Bingo fundraiser that begins at 7 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1111 W. 35th St., Davenport. Admission is $10 per person at the door. (To reserve a seat, visit the website www.rocknrollbingoqc.com).
“The endowment goal is $25,000. Right now, we have over $18,000,” Katie Kiley said. “I want to start awarding those scholarships in the coming year, which will be the fifth anniversary of John’s death. The reason I started this scholarship was to keep his memory alive and his legacy of helping, especially young people. He was very committed to college education.”
The John R. Kiley Memorial Scholarship is a way to “develop and maintain the spirit of all that John did with great passion, intelligence and zeal,” his friends wrote in a letter explaining their support for the scholarship fund. Community Foundation of the Great River Bend is managing the fund.
Throughout his adult life Kiley, who died Feb. 15, 2009, at age 58 of a heart attack, worked to help others better their own lives. An important component was ensuring opportunities for a college education. In his position with the Davenport Diocese, he strived to instill the nationally recognized concept of Msgr. Marvin Mottet’s two feet of social action. One foot, labeled social justice, seeks to remove the root causes of poverty and to work to improve structures under which society operates. The second foot, labeled charitable works, seeks to meet basic needs and aid individuals. Both feet are required for the well-being of individuals and society, Msgr. Mottet believes.
“John lived his faith,” Katie said. “His idea of living his faith was getting out into the community and helping people.” While serious about service, he always brought a great sense of fun to whatever he was doing and made many friends along the way. John and Katie’s son-in-law, Ken Modzelwski, observed that the Rock-n-Roll Bingo event might be as much of a “friend-raiser” as a fundraiser, Katie added.
Vikki Navarro, part of the close-knit group of John and Katie’s friends known as “The Usual Suspects,” suggested Rock-n-Roll Bingo as a fundraiser after seeing a story about it on the Today show. After doing some research on the Internet, Navarro thought “It looked like a lot of fun. John was always a person who would bring other people together. This (event) just seemed to fit with that.”
Rock-n-Roll Bingo is a hybrid of music trivia and Bingo, played on customized Bingo cards. The caller (in this case, DJ Cody Tucker) plays a snippet from a song after which players search for the song title on their cards. Navarro said it’s an intergenerational game because the music ranges from early to current rock-n-roll. Participants can even ask players at other tables for help with the answers!
The intention is “to have a good time and to raise money for a good cause. John touched so many lives in the community,” she said.
Katie Kiley hopes the “FUNdraiser” results in several-thousand dollars being added to the scholarship fund. Everyone in her family is contributing in some way. Daughter Joanne (married to Ken) asked that money that would have been spent on her birthday go to the scholarship fund. Joanne and Ken’s two children, Elliott, 8, and Iris, 5, contributed $10 from their lemonade stand. Katie’s younger daughter, Julia, designed the website for the fundraiser. John’s sister, Katy Bauer, also contributes in myriad ways.
“It’s an incredible web of family and friendship that is so strong, loving and supportive. It’s downright inspiring,” Katie Kiley said.
By Barb Arland-Fye