Daughter remembers father, a singer-songwriter, killed by suspected drunk driver

Bill Colbert

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Wednesday morning, family and friends will lay to rest a local longtime musician killed in a suspected drunk driving crash.

Bill Colbert, 60, was killed early Saturday morning while driving home from Donn’s Depot, a live music venue on West 5th Street where he has played more than 20 years.

Austin police charged Anthony Anania, 21, with intoxication manslaughter. An investigator on the scene said he blew through a red light, and hit Colbert’s car while he was turning at Slaughter Lane and Mopac.

Anthony Anania
Anthony Anania

Every Friday night you could catch Colbert on stage singing and playing the bass guitar in the band “Donn and the Station Masters.”

It is the stage where he spent the final hours of his life.

“He was on his way home,” said Claire Gillen, Colbert’s daughter.

She would often watch him play, and said he was able to enjoy it even more after retiring from a 30-year career with the IRS in February.

He was looking forward to spending more time with his wife and family.

“It’s so confusing. We don’t know why he was taken when he was,” said Gillen. “But he would want us to be at peace.”

She has not given much thought to the man charged in her father’s death.

Instead, she is trying to remember the good times and how she and others could always count on him to say the right thing.

“He had a lot of insights that would bubble to the surface I think maybe because of being a writer, he just had a way with words,” said Gillen.

After her father’s death a friend forwarded an email to Claire her dad wrote a week and a half before he was killed.

She is now holding onto these final words:

“We all get so caught up in work that we think we have an unlimited number of days. Time is the most precious thing we have. Time to sit on the porch with Karen (his wife), literally smell the roses, listen to and watch the birds and drink coffee. Time to go to our grandson’s T-ball game. Time to just get in the car and go for a drive with no particular destination in mind. I don’t know how many days I have left or Karen has left, but I finally realized that every day is one less than the total we had the day before. So get out there and do what you love with who love and enjoy living in each moment.” -Bill

Bill Colbert’s funeral is Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Weed-Corley Fish Funeral Home on South Congress.

After the service, Donn’s Depot on West 5th is hosting a gathering in Colbert’s honor.

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