William Winfield (“Bill”) Augustine died peacefully of natural causes on August 9, 2020 at Brandywine Assisted Living, where he had resided for the last eight years. He was 93.
A long-time resident of the Princeton area, Bill was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on March 26, 1927. In 1942, his parents, Thomas Henry and Ruth Duncan Augustine, moved the family to Bucks County, near Bowman’s Hill Tower, so that Bill’s father could work for General Motors in Trenton in support of the War effort. Bill’s older brother, Duncan, studied engineering at Princeton University, and Bill loved to recount stories about coming to Princeton as a child in the 1930’s to visit his brother.
As a young man, Bill had his eye on a career in radio and the exciting new medium, television, He received voice training for radio in Philadelphia and also became involved with the local theater, playing leading roles in several productions at the Play and Players Theater there. However, despite having job offers from local radio and TV stations, he ultimately decided on a different path. After attending Rider College for several years, he left to take a series of sales and marketing positions with Dodge Reports, 3M, and Standard Oil, which sent him to work in Italy for several years. In the mid- 1950’s, Bill returned to the Princeton area to work for Johnson & Johnson as a product manager.
In 1960, he and local contractor, Ray Hunt, formed Hunt & Augustine, Inc., which quickly became a leading residential construction and real estate development firm in the Princeton area. They partnered with architect William Thompson, Jr. AIA, who had previously spent several years as the resident architect for Williamsburg, in designing both custom homes and residential developments, including Winfield, Audubon and Castle Howard in Princeton and the Abey tract and the Pennington Professional Center in Pennington.
In 1962, Bill began development of the property that would become the Bedens Brook Club in Skillman. Bill was one of the founders of the golf club, and the Bedens Brook Company, of which Bill was President, also built many of the beautiful custom-designed homes that ring the golf course.
In 1981, Hunt & Augustine began development of a 700-acre tract of land in Skillman as a golf club community to be named Cherry Valley Country Club. Bill assembled the land and obtained all of the necessary approvals, which was a grueling process that took many years. This project was eventually sold to Dyson, Kissner & Moran. However. Bill remained involved until the Cherry Valley golf course was completed. It opened in 1991.
Bill married his wife, Mary Jane, in 1986. They loved adventure and traveled extensively together. One notable trip involved following the Silk Road across China from east to west in 1995. That trip ended abruptly in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan when Bill became seriously ill from food poisoning and had to be transported by medivac plane to the American Hospital in Istanbul, where he stayed for more than a month. There, he made many friends among the hospital staff, who started spending their breaks visiting in his room. In typical fashion, Bill Augustine fashion, he turned his time in the Istanbul hospital into a continuation of the Silk Road adventure.
Throughout his business career, Bill always found time to be active in the community and later in life, he devoted much of his time and energy to charitable pursuits. While serving as President of both Hunt & Augustine, Inc. and the Bedens Brook Company, he was also President of the Princeton Art Association and Senior Vice President of the Princeton Ballet. After retiring, he became a Board member of the American Red Cross of Central Jersey which awarded him the Bob Clancy Culture of Caring Award for service in 2008. He was also a long- time volunteer with Meals on Wheels, continuing to deliver meals and cheer to shut-ins well into his mid-80’s.
Bill was an accomplished athlete pursuing tennis, figure skating, running and golf at various times in his life. However, golf was his enduring passion. He took up the game in his late 20’s and continued to play until he was well past 80. He loved nothing better than spending time on the Bedens Brook and Cherry Valley Country Club golf courses with his many friends. He was especially proud of being an honorary member of both Clubs. In his later years, he researched and authored detailed histories of Bedens Brook and Cherry Valley, which he gave as an enduring gift to both the Clubs and their members.
Bill was pre-deceased by his parents; his brother, Duncan Colfax Augustine; his sister, Natalie Jean Augustine; and his two children by a previous marriage, William Winfield Augustine, Jr. and Sara Dougan Augustine. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane Augustine; his step-daughter, Lia Christian Nielsen, of Lambertville; and a nephew, Dr. D.C. Augustine of Amherst, Virginia.
A private memorial service is planned for late September.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Brandywine Assisted Living and Vitas Healthcare for taking wonderful care of Bill. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Red Cross of Central Jersey. Extend condolences and share memories at blackwellmh.com.