in memoriam

In Memory of William Augustine Nurthen II

October 31, 2023


William Augustine “Bill” Nurthen II, age 74 of Ocean Township, NJ, passed peacefully and surrounded by his family, after a brief illness on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

Bill was born on November 21, 1948 in Philadelphia, PA, to William Augustine Nurthen and Virginia Kane (Lee) Nurthen. He cherished his childhood growing up in Sharon Hill and Ridley Park, PA, with 6 brothers and sisters and graduated in the class of 1966 from St. James Catholic High School in Chester, PA. In 2010, Bill was inducted into the St. James Wall of Honor for his lifetime achievements.

After high school, Bill received several football scholarship opportunities, but chose to accept an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in the class of 1970. He went on to receive a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He served 27 years in the United States Navy, achieving the rank of Captain before his retirement in 1997. His Naval career included service on surface warships, Destroyer Squadrons, and two tours at the Pentagon. His greatest career achievements included being appointed Captain of the USS Valdez (FF-1096) and Major Command at Military Sealift Command Atlantic (MSCLANT) in Bayonne, NJ. After retiring from the Navy, Bill started a second career at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he worked for 17 years and held various leadership positions. He worked in World Trade Center I and was a survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His careers with both the US Navy and the Port Authority took him all around the world. He loved sharing stories of his adventures with his family and friends, especially over a martini or a nice glass of wine.

Bill was a devout Catholic and parishioner at St. Jerome Church in West Long Branch, NJ. He served on the Pastoral Council and as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. He and his wife Donna delivered Meals on Wheels in Ocean Township. He was a member of the USNA Alumni Association, Military Officers of America Association, the American Legion, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York - New Jersey, and the United Seaman’s Association, where he served as a member of the board.

Bill was truly the kindest man you could ever meet and would always send you on your way with a “God Bless You.” He never said a harsh word about anyone, and always believed in the goodness of others. Bill once said, “I would like to be remembered as the best husband, father, and grandfather that I could possibly be.” This is exactly how he will be remembered by those who love him. Bill is survived by his loving wife of almost 52 years, Donna Simonetti Nurthen, whom he met on a blind date at a Navy-Notre Dame football game. He is also survived by his five children and their spouses, William III (Jennifer) Nurthen, Nancy (Jenelle) Nurthen, Kathleen (Scott) Strongarone, Jeanne (Kevin) Jones, and Patrick Nurthen; and his eleven grandchildren who adored their “Papa”, Emma, Lily, Julia, William IV, Paul, Lucy, Haley, Mila, Miriam, Brendan, and Michael; and his siblings Jeremiah (Mary Kaye) Nurthen, John Michael (Elissa) Nurthen, and Martha (David) McCarren, and many nieces and nephews. Bill is predeceased by his parents, William and Virginia Nurthen, as well as his sisters, Mary Patience Amundson, Therese Nurthen, and Virginia Nurthen, and the beloved family dog, Gipper.

Visitation will be held on Monday, November 6, 2023 from 3:00pm-7:00 pm at Damiano Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Ave Long Branch, NJ 07740. The funeral be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 9:30am from the funeral home folllowed by a 10:30am Mass of Christian Burial at St. Jerome Church, 254 Wall St West Long Branch, NJ 07764. Interment will be at Woodbine Cemetery, 14 Maple Ave, Oceanport, NJ 07757.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Bill’s memory to Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island NY 10306
or Smile Train, PO Box 96231, Washington DC 20090

Go Navy, Beat Army!