William "Bill" Hermstedt
William F. Hermstedt age 77 of South River passed away peacefully on Tuesday July 31, 2018 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, with his loving family at his side. Born in South Bound Brook he has resided in South River for most of his life. Before his retirement he was employed by E.I. DuPont as a machinist for over 30 years.
Bill is survived by his wife of 55 years Anita Hermstedt, his children and their spouses Margi Hermstedt-Wright and Mark Wright, William and Holly Hermstedt and Matthew and Jane Hermstedt, his grandchildren Megan, Matthew, Mikela, Brielle, Aaron, Justin and Wolf, his great grandson Declan, his sister Mary Louise Schaffer, brother Raymond Hermstedt and his wife Carol. He is predeceased by his parents Mary Van Aulen and William Hermstedt, his in-laws Russell and Peggy Jeffray, his brothers Teddy Van Aulen and Henry Hermstedt.
Bill Hermstedt lived a life of service. He served his family, neighborhood and community. His woodworking talents can be seen all over South River from wooden toys he made for neighborhood children, furniture in homes and display work. One can just visit the South River firehouse, St. Mary’s, the library and historical society to see his work. His legacy will remain in the woodwork lovingly touched by his hands.
Big Bill, Uncle Bill, Mr. Hermstedt, coach, Bayonette Bill, Dad, husband, Opa; are the many names Bill could be called by. As a 56 year member of the South River Fire Department, Engine Company Number One, he protected and served not only South River, but the surrounding communities as well. He was the longest serving active member of the South River Fire Department until God took him to serve him personally.
Mr. Hermstedt led many young men on their journey into manhood through his service with Boy Scout Troop 75 out of St. Mary’s South River. He stayed active in the New Jersey Boy Scouts long after his own two sons were adults. Coach Hermstedt was a CYO boys basketball coach as well through the St. Mary’s programs.
Bayonet Bill, as his discovery of a cachet of Revolutionary War bayonets at Valley Forge let him to be dubbed, was active in historical archaeology. As a member of Deep Search Metal Detecting Club and BRAVO, Battlefield Restoration & Archaelogical Volunteer Organization, Bill assisted and unraveling America’s historical mysteries. His work led to the largest find of American Revolutionary War bayonets. He was written about worldwide for his discovery at Monmouth New Jersey Battlefield of a musketball with over 200 year old human DNA on it. With BRAVO, Bill appeared on both the History and Discovery channels. Always resplendent and his blue jeans and black sneakers, he could be seen trekking America’s Revolutionary and Civil War battle sites.
Bill was happiest, however, with his family and neighbors. He served them by cleaning snowy sidewalks as well as befriending every dog who ventured fourth on Monush Street.
Calling hours at Maliszewski Funeral Home 218 Whitehead Avenue, South River will be held Friday from 2pm to 4pm and from 7pm to 9pm with a private cremation to follow. A Celebration of Life will be held at the South River Fire Department on the corner of Jackson St, and Raritan Ave. on Saturday 2 to 5 pm. Letters of condolence, complete funeral details and directions may be found on maliszewskifuneralhome.com