Given the work that National Taxpayers Union and NTU Foundation pursue every day, it becomes all too easy to focus on the public faces of the organizations: those who are representing the taxpayers’ cause in the media, on Capitol Hill, or with the policy community.
Yet, we should also acknowledge and value the contributions of those who aren’t in front of Congress, or a camera. It is with much sadness but much more fondness that we do so now, by pausing to remember our Director of Finance and Accounting Bill Fey, who passed away Sunday peacefully after a brief illness.
Bill had served NTU and NTU Foundation since 2006, bringing with him decades of experience in the intricacies of for-profit and nonprofit financial operations, including stints with a leasing company, a law firm, and two associations prior to joining us. He also had a top-notch education in his field through a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. (finance) from American University.
Though he could have deployed his talents toward more lucrative pursuits, Bill chose to give his steady hand to our operations, ranging from standard accounting to the task of interacting with outside auditors. These obligations are vital enough at organizations like ours that espouse (and pride themselves on) financial accountability, but Bill was more than a bookkeeper. He brought with him other skills that we came to rely on, including personnel policy development, property management, investment strategy, and conference planning. In short, he helped to provide some of the vital infrastructure that enabled NTU’s and NTU Foundation’s activities to proceed full speed ahead.
Bill was also a true compatriot in our endless struggles on behalf of limited government. He offered useful anecdotes from his past interactions with bureaucracies, and pointed out interesting news developments that might be useful in our outreach to taxpayers. He also never failed to maintain a wry sense of humor that reminded us to take our daily travails in stride and have confidence in the course our movement was charting.
Bill’s devotion to NTU and NTU Foundation was evident in his insistence upon imparting as much of his knowledge as possible to those who had to carry on his duties. His wife, son, daughter, and others who knew him can be proud of this dedication. Perhaps also they can take some comfort in the words of Walt Whitman, which seem appropriate as we reflect on the passing of a former Naval Academy man:
“O we can wait no longer
We too take ship O soul,
Joyous we too launch out on trackless seas,
Fearless for unknown shores …”
We wish Bill’s loved ones less difficult days ahead. Though we will miss him, we know he has joyously, fearlessly reached another shore.