William John Nauta, Jr., born on April 29, 1947 in New York City passed away April 10, 2020 at Overlook Hospital of complications from Covid-19 at the age of 72. Bill moved to Chatham in 1955. He attended Saint Patrick School and graduated from Chatham High School in1965. Bill began dating Carol in 1971 shortly after their New Year’s Day tobogganing rides down the hills of Canoe Brook and South Mountain Reservation. Bill fell quickly for Carol, getting engaged that April and then married five months later. They continued to live in Chatham raising their four children all of whom went through the Chatham school system.
After graduating from high school, Bill enlisted in the United States Army. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal before being Honorably Discharged in February 1969. Bill left the Army after serving with the 529th Military Police Company Honor Guard of General Polk’s Headquarters in Germany. He continued as a member of the US Army Reserve until March 1972.
In June 1970, Bill joined the Chatham Borough Police Department. He attended the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt, New Jersey. He served as a Patrolman, Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain before retiring in December 2003. One of the founding members of Chatham PBA Local 226, he served as the department’s Traffic Safety and Training Coordinator and Firearms Instructor. When he was a Detective, he was the Chatham Borough Juvenile Officer and was active with Project Community Pride. Bill also authored the department’s Crime Prevention program in the mid-1970s, resulting in one of the first Crime Prevention programs in Morris County. In 1977, Bill graduated from the County College of Morris with an Associate Science Degree in Law Enforcement. He graduated second in his class from Northwestern University’s Traffic Institute and went on to take a Traffic Accident Reconstruction course, qualifying him to serve as an expert witness in court. Bill studied Public Administration at Kean College and was appointed to the Morris County Juvenile Conference Committee Program for Chatham Borough. Bill also served as the Chatham Borough Office of Emergency Management Coordinator from 1999-2018.
In 1975, while working for the Police Department, Bill also began teaching CPR and First Aid classes through Overlook Hospital. In 2005, Bill continued teaching CPR for Atlantic Health. In 2018, Bill joined the Atlantic Health AHA Faculty Training Center as the BLS Education Coordinator, then becoming the lead BLS Instructor. Atlantic Health estimates that Bill taught over 50,000 students potentially saving hundreds of lives. Bill was passionate about teaching others how to perform CPR in the event of an emergency.
Bill was service oriented and loved to volunteer in his free time. Bill was involved with Boy Scout Troop 28; worked with the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation to get AEDs for Chatham fields; he was Co-President of the Chatham Middle School PTO; co-leader for Brownies & Girl Scouts; coached youth soccer, basketball, softball, and women’s softball; and was a “Roadie” for the Chatham High School Marching Band.
As a graduate of St. Patrick School, Bill was very proud of the work he did with the school and church. In 2002, Bill was honored by St. Patrick School with the National Catholic Education Association Distinguished Graduate Award. This award exemplifies the highest qualities of Catholic Education and has rendered distinguished service to the Catholic Church and the United States of America. Bill was incredibly proud of this award.
Bill enjoyed photography, golf, billiards, fishing, archery, horseback riding, and serving his community. He had a love for music, especially playing the guitar, attending Broadway shows, and concerts. Bill, affectionately known as Willie by his police buddies, had a contagious laugh, gaining the name “Giggles.” He enjoyed spending time with friends however; his greatest love was his family. Anything his family wanted to try or do, he always found the time to go the extra mile.
Bill was a devoted husband, father, Pop Pop, and friend. His parents, William John Nauta, Sr. and Mary Margaret Cleary, predeceased Bill. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Carol; his daughter, Amy of Chatham; his son William (wife Catherine and their children Quinton and Kyler) of Fall River, Massachusetts; his son Robert (wife Victoria and their child, Samantha) of Nutley, New Jersey; his daughter, Janet of Chatham; his grandson and little buddy, William of Chatham; his brother, John (wife Kathy) of Winter Haven, Florida; his brother, Patrick (wife Colleen and their children Sean and Shannon) of Manahawkin, New Jersey; his brother-in-law George French (wife Nancy and their children Ashley, Sarah, and Thomas) of Towaco, New Jersey; and his sister-in-law, Elaine French of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
May his memory be a blessing. Bill will be greatly missed by many.