Santa Clara Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony to Honor Former Fire Chief Bill Kelly

By Robert Haugh

Santa Clara’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting kicks off the holidays in the Mission City. The ceremony will take place this Friday, December 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Central Park.

The event will feature performances from community groups, food, and Santa’s Photo Village. 

The Holiday Tree will be lit to honor Bill Kelly and the Kelly family. Kelly retired as Santa Clara’s Fire Chief in 2019. He passed away on September 30, 2022.

Kelly started his career in the Santa Clara Fire Department in 1984 and worked there for 35 years. During his tenure, he led the Department as Fire Chief to develop the first Hazardous Materials Management and Response Program, oversee Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in 2016, and implemented new strategies for emergency operations.

Kelly was a 4th-generation Santa Claran. 

Visit for more information about the event. 

One comment

  1. Oh, that is sad. I remember seeing him in the city before he became a fireman, as I have lived in the city since 1962. My condolences to his family.

Leave a Reply