Bill Hine (1924-1997) was affectionately known as the “village guardian” of Basking Ridge. His full name was Willard Foster Hine, Jr., and he was born in Westfield. Bill suffered an oxygen deficiency at birth, which left him unable to work at a regular job. After his family moved to Spencer Road in Basking Ridge in 1961, Bill became well known around the village interacting with residents in front of the Peppermill Deli and Brush’s.
He was also noted for his photography, music, poetry, and positive outlook on life. Later, Bill moved to Bernardsville and then to the Ridge Oak Community in Basking Ridge. He was also active at St. James Catholic Church. Bill published a collection of his poetry, “Poems to Live By” in 1976.
IN THE TOWN OF BASKING RIDGE by Bill Hine
I love to live in Basking Ridge,
It’s such a friendly town—
Especially in the evening
As the setting sun goes down.
I love to hear the laughter of the little children
And see a smile upon their face,
I love to be in Basking Ridge,
It’s such a lovely place.
I’ve been to other towns before,
But not as nice as this,
If I should have to go away
It’s this town that I’d miss.
If you happen to be driving by,
Just stop and you will see—
It’s the town of Basking Ridge,
That’s where you’ll want to be.
(from Poems to Live By, p. 80)