Paul Kalill was an inspiration to everyone he met. Those who knew him always turned to him for advice, approval or just for a good laugh, and he was always there. His genuine interest in caring for people made everyone with whom he conversed feel truly special and comfortable. Paul lived his life with purpose; every breath he took was to better the world. Paul’s bright life was tragically taken by COVID-19 in early April. His passing leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of many people in Western Massachusetts who he inspired throughout his life. During these dark times it is so important to find light, and Paul was the brightest light. His family has made it their mission to spread his light through sharing his stories and encouraging others to live a life of service as he did.
Paul’s life story began on February 27th, 1943 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was born a proud Lebanese American and admired his parents and older siblings very much. Paul grew up in a two-family home where his family operated a neighborhood grocery store on the first floor. He played football at Saint Joseph’s High School and went on to pursue his undergraduate degree from Norwich University, graduating in 1965. Paul’s passion for change-making led him to obtaining his Juris Doctorate degree from Suffolk University in 1968.
Paul was a proud member of the United States Army where he served as a Captain in Vietnam. His education and his ability to connect with people landed him a position as a U.S. Land Reform Advisor during his time there, causing him to take on many critical missions alone. Upon his return home from Vietnam, Paul moved to Springfield, Massachusetts and brought with him some of the state’s first Vietnamese refugees who stayed with his family in their home. He was awarded a Bronze Star Army Commendation Medal for his service.
Paul had a passion for politics and served as an advisor to many political figures, including President Jimmy Carter. He notably helped President Carter create the country’s first campaign signs written in Arabic. He also was a longtime supporter and friend of Governor Mike Dukakis and Senator Ted Kennedy. Paul served on the Springfield City council 3 times, alongside Congressman Richard Neal who commented on his life quoting, “Paul Kalill was the living embodiment of the word ‘service.’ ”
Paul practiced law at Kalill Glasser and Associates with his partner of 43 years, Gerald Glasser, and was recently honored for 50 years of service by the Hampden County Bar Association. He was a life-long learner, and in 1998 he received his M.Ed. in counseling psychology and later a PhD in forensic psychology. He shared his knowledge as a professor at several institutions and taught real estate classes. He also co-hosted radio show on WHYN-AM called “Shrink Wrapped” and served as a life coach. Paul served on several non-profit boards and lifted his community up by sharing his knowledge. He lived by the teachings of his Catholic faith.
Paul moved to Westfield with his family in 2005 and he was an active citizen and a wonderful neighbor. He was devoted to his family and enjoyed supporting his wife and children in their community involvement. One of his proudest moments was sharing the stage with his daughter in a production of Heidi at the Westfield Women’s Club.
While he accomplished more than most could ever dream of, those who knew him say that his giving, thoughtful and open-minded heart was what they treasured most. He remains an inspiration to the community of Westfield and beyond.