Remembering Bill Pond

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Cameron Pond  SAUGUS, MA
The best thing about my father is that everyone who knows him whether its friends, family, or even his children, knows a different side of him.


Commanding JAG Officer, Omnipotent Transdimensional Transit Authority

Who is he to you? A Ghostbuster? A British Revolutionary War Guard? A steampunk and self-appointed Commanding JAG Officer of the Omnipotent Transdimensional Transit Authority? Spiderman on his Can-Am Spyder? If you go back far enough maybe he was the Mad Hatter slinging hot dogs on a food cart in Salem?


Who Ya Gonna Call!? Halloween 1995. Yes, that's his car.

No matter how long you've known him, where you met, or which character you know him as, everyone is drawn to him for the same reasons. If there's a story to be told, he has one. If there's a weird possession, he owns it. If you need a good idea or a get rich quick scheme, he probably has it copywritten already.


(Can-Am) Spyderman

Through all his characters and his depth of personality the same qualities show through. Bill Pond, my father, is hard-working, dedicated, funny, wise, crazy, mildly offensive (okay, sometimes more than mildly), loving, caring, passionate, and above all interesting.


Spirit of (17)76! Bill as a member of the First Foot Guards, a British Revolutionary War Reenactment Regiment.

What has Bill Pond done for you? I'm almost certain that he's fixed your heat or air conditioning because when he's not in character he lives out his civilian life as a mild-mannered (again, sometimes more than mild) HVAC technician. Beyond that maybe he's put on a world class fireworks display for you, shoveled out your car, helped you with some sort of renovation or project, took you out on his boat, went on on motocycle ride with you, played golf with you, visited you when you were sick, sponsored and supported you in AA, or called to talk to you when you were lonely. Regardless of the task at hand you know he's always done it with a smile on his face making sure he had something to say that would make you laugh, because laughter is the best medicine.


Cruiser Club pals

Unfortunately, right now Bill needs more than just laughter. On July 24th, 2014 my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Not exactly the birthday gift my sister and I hoped for (I'm 7/23/87 and she is 7/24/98). Never one to complain publicly or ask for anything, it took longer than you might expect for people to start noticing. The good news is my father knows a lot of people and has a lot of people who really care about him.


My father Bill and his daughter/my sister Carli

In the interest of maintaining his pride and dignity I'll be clear, my father isn't the one asking for your help, I am. I don't know how long my father will be out of work and/or if he will ever return. Right now, that is not my concern or his. My concern is making sure his life and living situation receive as much stability as they possibly can. When he isn't sick my father lives alone, with the exception of his cat. There will certainly be out of pocket medical costs that need to be covered. My sister, Carli, is still a minor and she needs his support as well. I know that even at a time like this his first priority is his children and if he wanted to ensure the wellbeing of anyone it would be us before himself.


Dad and I, age 4?

The road ahead is unclear. There are many obstacles big and small that we must overcome. I know that my father has done many favors for many people and he has never expected anything in return. This is a quality he has passed down to me and is a cornerstone of both our value systems. However, right now all bets are off. I need to call in the favors for both of us on his behalf.


28 and 12 years sober respectively, Coke (hold the rum) in Jamaica, November 2013

If you are willing and able please consider donating whatever you can and know that while he accepts your help and support reluctantly, I willingly accept it on his behalf. Both my father and myself, my sister, and our entire family thank you for whatever contribution you're able to make. If you are able to donate non-monetary items such as time, food or care for his cat, cleaning services, transportation, or anything else, those offers will also be considered and greatfully appreciated.


He cleans up well, complete with signature facial hair

When I was born my parents gave me the middle name Jude after St. Jude, The Patron Saint of Lost Causes. I am no Saint, at least not on my own, but together we can one for my father, your family member, your friend, one of the greatest men who ever lived, Bill Pond.

Thank you again for your wishes, kind words, support, and contribution.

With love,

Cameron Jude Pond

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Update 11
Posted by Cameron Jude Pond
53 months ago
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As a blue-collar oil burner technician my father would often tell me stories where he would employ the phrases “this is unacceptable” and “do you know who I think I am?” These phrases were used by him to impersonate customers who believed they deserved more than they got. We are all here today because having known Bill Pond we most certainly got more than we deserved. We are also here today because this is unacceptable. We don’t have my father here today to answer the question “do you know who I think I am” but we all know it would take him a lifetime to answer it, and so it has. Instead now we must decide, determine, and define who Bill Pond was, to himself, to us, and to those he never met. My father did the job of laying the foundation for us but our task is to cement his legacy. We will never be able to do him or that task justice, but we must try, just as my father tried so hard at so many things.

Over the course of the last few weeks I have come to realize that of all the things having a son can bring you in life perhaps the most important thing my father needed was someone to tell his story when he was no longer around to tell it. On October 3, 1955 my father was born. On October 3, 1955 my father set in motion a course of actions and events almost as if he spent his whole life drafting his own eulogy, I’m just organizing and reading it. That mindset never faltered and it’s as though everything he ever did with Carli and I, was worthy of an entire chapter in his autobiography. However, along the way he took out many insurance policies on the telling of his life story and those insurance policies are all of you.

See, the man we knew, William M. Pond, Bill, Billy, Cousin Bill, Atrocity Bill, Uncle Bill, Brother Bill, well those were merely the vehicle by which this modern day legend presented himself to us. In reality my father spent his entire life trying and actually succeeding at being otherworldly. We all got to know him in unique ways, as different characters, literally, to the point where not a single one of us got to know him completely in the same way. My sister and I are fortunate to be able to call him dad, but we are no more or less fortunate than any of you for whatever capacity you knew him in, as long as you knew or know of him that is all that matters, that’s all he ever wanted and all I want for him.

I know that by the things he did my father virtually guaranteed that there are people the world over talking about him today and they don’t even know it. He was the man of a thousand hobbies and an infinite number of interests. He was a British Revolutionary War reenactor who even in his later years loved to dress up in costume go run around with his friends, reenacting was just his way of taking that to the next level. Taking things to the next level was something my father did with nearly everything he became passionate about. As a hotdog vendor in Salem during the early 90’s he wasn’t satisfied merely selling hot dogs at a cart. No, my father took on the persona of the Mad Hatter, complete with top hat and tails. Shortly thereafter he would buy a 1971 Oldsmobile ambulance and single-handedly convert it into the Ghostbuster car. I always believed he’d done it to make me look like the coolest 8 year old in town but as I got older I learned otherwise. Years later I watched him do the same thing with my sister, Carli, as they both grew into steampunk cosplay and subculture together. He took on numerous character served a dual purpose, they were entertaining to him and also to others, but particularly special if he could enjoy them with his kids.

I recall a story from last fall the day after the Red Sox won the World Series. My father put on his Spiderman suit, complete with matching helmet, his Red Sox shirt over it, and went out for a joyride around Boston on his Can-Am Spyder. I saw on Facebook many of my friends posting about seeing Spiderman riding a motorcycle and then visited my fathers page confirming that it was in fact him.

Between the lines of Bill Pond’s life there were also a few very important lessons that he may or may not have planned to teach us but we have them now regardless. My father always used to give me grief over how sensitive I was. As a Pond male and his son he had no idea how he had brought a child into this world and raised him to be so in tune with feelings and emotions. At the same time my father also taught me that if anyone ever gives you a hard time for being who you are tell them to fuck off. I don’t think he expected that we would go through this routine increasingly over the years as he would poke fun at my sensitivity and I would push back against him. In the long run I don’t think my father wasn’t insensitive because he certainly had feelings and emotions, I just believe amidst all his characters that he hid them well.

The next lesson we can all learn from my father is the motto by which I believe he lived his life, “have fun now, pay later.” Many of us will recall a moment in time where my father told us about some crazy idea he had or something totally useless that he purchased. We likely recall either telling him openly how ridiculous is was or quietly rolling our eyes when he looked away. The truth is that despite our criticism he always got the best of us because in the end no matter how poor his investment you bet he was enjoying life a lot more than we were. He may have never had the financial acumen to be a Wall Street investor but in his many passions and equally passionate attitude about having fun at any cost, he made all of his investments seem like good ones, even if it was only in his own mind. Within this spirit we learn another lesson and that is “don’t be afraid to fail” because Bill Pond clearly was not, even if things like his Kneel Kit invention never made him the millions he hoped he still did it. That’s more than any of us can say. The invention itself might have been a dud but he was not. He set out a plan to do something and he executed it. Nearly everything he did in life can be looked at the same way no matter how absurd.

Finally, my sister Carli said to me the other day that after he had bought his Spiderman suit to wear while riding his Spyder that even she began to question his sanity. My father simply replied “never grow up, never grow old” as though he embodied the very essence of Peter Pan and that somehow we all forgot we were living in his Neverland. The truth is that my father never did grow up. In fact over the course of the last few weeks I’ve often told people that of the list of my fathers successes in life one of the most significant is that he raised me to be a good parent, to him. I’m sad that my father never got to grow old but I am happy knowing he succeeded in never growing up, he lived life to the fullest even in his final weeks. Had he lived another 20 or 30 years it’s likely he would have gotten us all killed by pulling us into yet another one of his hair-brained schemes, like teaching and supervising me, his son, in the building of fireworks at 11 years of age.

When I moved into my fathers house back in 2005 one of my friends and I spent a lot of time cleaning out the room in his basement which was to become my bedroom. Over the days, weeks, and months that followed we would regularly come across various bizarre possessions and set them aside for further examination. Upon returning home from work he would come down the stairs to talk to us and we’d show him what we found. As though he were a curator in a museum he would explain what this particular object was and always accompany it with a story of how he acquired said object, ultimately spinning it off into some idea he had that would make us millions. He never made his millions in physical money but what he did make were millions of memories. If he had charged all of us a dollar for every time he told us a story, had a crazy idea, or bought something the rest of us found absurd (and he f
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Update 10
Posted by Cameron Jude Pond
53 months ago
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On behalf of my entire family I want to thank everyone who was able to come out for my father's viewing tonight. We are humbled by your presence and support. For those who were not able to attend we thank you for the thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers over long distance. My father was not a man who liked to inconvenience others. Even at a time like this he would have much preferred you take the time to do something you love or to work hard to provide for your family. At the same time for those who managed to make it out I am confident that my father would have valued your attendance as he loved to entertain. Please continue to share your Bill Pond stories with each other and with me by email, phone, Facebook, letter, or otherwise. With love, Cameron.
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Update 9
Posted by Cameron Jude Pond
54 months ago
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A viewing for my father Bill Pond will be held on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 from 4 to 8pm at Bisbee-Porcella Funeral Home, 549 Lincoln Avenue, Saugus, MA. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10am at Grace Ministries, 101 Main Street in Saugus. Graveside internment of his ashes will follow at Riverside Cemetery on Winter Street. It would be great to see as many family and friends as possible. Please share this information widely. Look out for his obituary in this Sunday's Boston Globe, Monday's Lynn Item, and Thursday's Saugus Advertiser.
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Update 8
Posted by Cameron Jude Pond
54 months ago
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On the afternoon of August 14, 2014 at 3:45pm, Bill Pond peacefully took his last breath surrounded by his sister, daughter, and son. He went out just the way he wanted with his kids, just minutes before, hanging out in his living room watching TV and laughing.

10/3/55 to 8/14/14

May he rest in power.
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Raised by 104 people in 54 months
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Created July 25, 2014
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