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BILL KERN BIOGRAPHY - Page 4

Bill's interests in collecting grew beyond records.  He had begun collecting comic books in the late 70's, and by the mid 90's his comic book collection took up an entire wall - floor to ceiling - of his home.  He  also revived a childhood hobby - Lionel Trains.  His train collection was valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.  He also began collecting Department 56 ceramic buildings.  His collection of buildings grew so large, he could not display them all in his house.  What he did have displayed took up three rooms.  In the beginning of this article, it was stated that Bill Kern could write songs about anything and everything.  I should have said, anything and everything that interested him.  But Bill was interested in everything, so there were no limits.  In 1990, Bill wrote a song for promotional contest for Valiant Comics.  In the late 90's, he began writing songs about Department 56 villages, and Lionel Trains.  He completed a CD of Toy Train songs with twenty new songs, and a CD of songs for Department 56 villages with nine songs.  He was well known by people in both companies as an avid collector who wrote cute songs about their products.  Cute is probably not the correct word to use.  Many of them are great songs.  Several of his train songs appear in Toy Train videos.  Bill was known among Lionel Train collectors as Boxcar Bill.  He was also know on AOL as Beatle Bill.

Bill and Barry recorded less frequently form 1995 to 2005.  The pressures and responsibilities of their careers made scheduling sessions difficult.  Barry became a full-time high school music and theatre teacher, and Bill owned and operated an independent video store that survived the crush from the national video chains.  Bill played his guitar every day, and continued to write prolifically.  In recent years, Bill's eyesight had become so poor, that he would rarely drive alone - especially at night.  He would often befriend customers in his store who would ride in his car with him so that he could go to dinner or shopping.  Around 11:30PM on December 27, 2005, Bill stopped home for a few moments, announced that he was going to Burger King for a bite to eat, and he would be back soon.  A young Hispanic man was seen sitting in Bill's car in the driveway.  The following morning, Bill's store manager  found Bill dead in front of the open safe in the back of his store.  He had been brutally beaten to death.  As of this writing in May, 2007, his murder has not been solved.

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