Ex-sheriff’s chaplain dies early Thursday
Chaplain Bill Colonna died early Thursday morning from complications of diabetes, his wife, Shelly, said.
Colonna, a former Carson City Sheriff’s Department chaplain, died in his sleep at about 3:15 a.m. Shelly, who had been staying in his room at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno, was with him when he died.
About 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a group of about 20 people from his church had visited him to sing Christmas carols, Shelly said. Though he was unable to speak with them, he smiled a lot, she said.
Colonna, 45, learned in March 2006 that his kidneys were failing as a result of the diabetes with which he’d struggled for most of his life. He’d been hospitalized since February, and had not been able to walk since August, Shelly said.
Colonna decided on Dec. 12 to turn off the dialysis machine that was keeping him alive after he indicated he did not want to live on a machine.
“I’m going home to the Lord,” he told his father after that decision.
Colonna spent his first 14 years in New York, a year in Florida, and at age 15, he moved to Nevada with his parents. He graduated from Wooster High School around 1979, and for a short time worked as a disc jockey in Louisiana, Georgia and in Reno on K-BULL.
He became a chaplain in 2000 and then almost immediately became a sheriff’s chaplain.
A celebration of Colonna’s life is set for Friday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m. at Fitzhenry’s Chapel at 3945 Fairview Drive.
A reception is to follow at the Carson City Elks Lodge on 515 N. Nevada Street.