Bill Kiene, founding member of the board of directors
of Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Foundation,

and frequent judge in contests sponsored by the organization,
died of lung cancer in Iowa City, Ia. on Thurs., Oct. 21, 2010. He was 78.

Wilbur E. Kiene, formerly of Riverside, Ia., was living in Coralville at the time of his death, after returning to his home state following many years around Springfield, Mo. There, he and Wanda Sue Parrott met while she was teaching a creative writing class for seniors at Ozarks Technical College. She introduced Bill to the Missouri Poets & Friends branch of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. As president of Poets & Friends, Bill helped establish the Missouri State Poetry Society, and as a board member of Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Foundation, helped found the Meeting the Muse Branch of the NFSPS, briefly the largest branch within the MSPS.

In retirement, Bill loved his pet-pal Pedro, stained-glass making, writing short stories and poetry, and publishing chapbooks. He began his working career in electronics, but eventually started a local newspaper, The Riverside Current. Before moving to Missouri, he was a member of the Moose Lodge, the Riverside Chamber of Commerce and Riverside Fire Department. In Missouri, Bill helped many poets publish their own chapbooks, but only published one little book of his own, a fictitional tale about a family of squirrels that outsmarted humans who meant to destroy the trees in which the creatures lived. "Miracle at Walnut Holler" was set in a mobile home park like the one where he lived and worked in Missouri.

Bill leaves four children: Kevin, Randall, Doug and Michelle, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren, as well as countless other relatives and friends among the national community of poets. Contributions may be made in Bill's honor to Iowa City Hospice, 1025 Wade Street, Iowa City, IA 52240.

In honor of Bill, we are publishing the Signature Poem "There was a Time" which he wrote to help us kick off our Signature Poem Registry a few years ago. It is the poem by which he chose to be remembered.


There was a time, I've been told,
back when I was not very old,
when women wore button shoes,
dresses reaching to their toes.

A time of buggy, wagon and surrey,
back when no one was in a hurry.
Hay took the place of gas, of course,
as everyone then drove a horse.

Back when you looked at the sky
where only birds knew how to fly.
Wilbur and Orville said "'tain't right;
it's time for man to take to flight.

A time when an afternoon's fun
was walking your sweetie in the sun,
a picnic basket of fried chicken and such;
a wonderful day and it didn't cost much.

Back when the newest craze
was the talking motion picture phase,
when popcorn was only a nickel
and true love didn't seem so fickle.

A time that lives now in one's memory,
perhaps jotted into someone's diary.
But, oh, isn't it fun to remember
our time of youth, an undying ember?

There was a time... come travel along
to where we once did belong,
there to again savor good old days
when life was simpler in many ways.

Bill Kiene

Wilbur E. Kiene, was born Nov. 12, 1931, in Washington, Ia. to Henry J. and Alice (Bjork) Kiene.