Bill was a 60-year veteran of the New Jersey auto retailing industry, opening VIP Motors, a used card dealership, in Plainfield, NJ. In the mid-1960’s, he was awarded a Honda Motorcycle franchise and sold them in record numbers (more than 50 in a single day, on particularly good days). VIP Honda quickly became one of the largest Honda Motorcycle dealerships in the country. This incredible achievement led Soichiro Honda, founder of the brand, to award Bill with the first Honda automobile franchise in New Jersey.
Bill worked hard to expand his business, eventually owning a total of 19 Honda and Acura dealerships. Bill’s passion for the automotive industry inspired his son, Wayne, his son-in-law, Rod, and his grandchildren to follow in his footsteps and find success in the auto retailing industry, something that always brought him great pride.
Bill remained actively involved in his dealerships throughout his life. Prior to the COVID pandemic, he would visit his offices every day, splitting his time between VIP Honda and Bridgewater Acura. Bill understood that his employees were the lifeline of his business and he made it a point to stay connected to them. He was a generous man, but preferred to quietly donate to many worthwhile causes. Bill encouraged others to work toward achieving their dreams of success and leaves a legacy of kindness, compassion and generosity, living his life by the mantra “It’s not what I have, but what I can give.”
Born on St. Patrick’s Day 1924 in Edison, New Jersey, Bill was the youngest of five children born to immigrant parents, who arrived in America through Ellis Island. From the beginning, his parents instilled in him a foundation of hard work, respect and empathy for others, values that would define Bill’s character throughout his life.
At the height of World War II, Bill enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18, serving aboard the USS Briareus. Bill saw combat in the South Pacific, sustaining a serious injury that kept him hospitalized for several months, but he went right back to work as soon as he recovered, serving until the end of the war. Following the war, Bill married and started a family. He paid his dues and honed his sales skills selling Electrolux vacuum cleaners door-to-door until a fellow sailor introduced him to the business of selling used cars and he discovered his lifelong passion.
Bill is predeceased by his parents, Ambrose and Elizabeth;his brothers, Charles and Ambrose; his sisters, Ethel and Elizabeth; and his mother-in-law, Kathleen Bingle. He is survived by his wife Eleanor; his daughter Diane Ryan (Rod); his son Wayne (Joan); his grandchildren Jaimie Morais (Michael), Wyatt (Cassandra), Bryan (Vanessa), Daniel (Courtney) and Shane (Michelle); as well as nine great-grandchildren and his niece, Vickie.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday July 28, 2021 from 2:00-4:00 & 7:00-9:00 pm at the Bailey Funeral Home (8 Hilltop Rd., Mendham, NJ). A Funeral Mass will be held 11:00 AM, Thursday July 29, 2021 at Christ the King Church (16 Blue Mill Rd., Morristown, NJ).