William H. Kelley

William H. Kelley

Class of 2005

Bill was born on August 13, 1941, in Highland Park, IL. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Xavier University and served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from December 1963 to January 1965, in Munsan, Korea.

Upon his return, he continued with the Army as a liaison officer in the Second Armored Division at Ft. Hood, TX. Afterwards, he began a 40-year career with Goelitz Confectionery Co., following in the footsteps of his grandfather who joined the company in 1901.

Bill began as a management trainee and in 1967 was promoted to secretary-treasurer. In 1970, he married Joan and they have two children, Meghan and Brian. By 1974, Bill had become president of the company and four years later, he and his cousin, Herman Rowland, purchased the company from their families.

“My early years at Goelitz were not easy,” Bill reveals. “The company and the industry were suffering, especially with declining per-capita consumption. I was determined not to let it fail on my watch. I was able to turn it around and have tried to include that feeling of pride, tradition and family continuity in everything I do.”

In 2001, when the company formally merged with the Herman Goelitz Candy Co., Inc. to form Jelly Belly Candy Co., Bill was named vice-chairman.

He has been heavily involved in the National Confectioners Association, serving as the trade group’s Chairman and as chair of the Public Information Committee. He also served as a vice-president and secretary-treasurer. Bill was chairman of the All Candy Expo Committee from 1999 to 2001 and in 2005 was honored with the NCA’s Distinguished Service Award.

In his free time, Bill enjoys golf and travel.