William (Bill) James Higley IV, 63 of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, left us on Saturday, February 11 after a valiant 10-month battle with Glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Bill passed away at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Born February 16, 1959 in Hackensack, NJ to Helen (LeBe) Higley and the late William J. Higley III, Bill grew up in Oradell, NJ. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson night school while working at Chase Manhattan Bank during the day. He learned early on that his love for people made him a perfect fit for corporate HR. It was at US Lines in Cranford, NJ that he interviewed a girl named Kathleen Begley and broke the golden rule by asking her out to play tennis, which lovingly changed both their lives for the past 35 years. They moved to Basking Ridge in 1990 and raised their two children, William J. Higley V (33) and Laura Higley Guy (30). Bill was the happiest being a father, spending every possible minute with both children, whether coaching little league, leading a boy scout den, driving to Bears & Ridge hockey, or leading Indian Princesses weekends, driving to Mavericks soccer or being barn Dad to Willie Go Round, George, and Icon on the weekends.
Bill enjoyed a successful career of over 20 years at Liz Claiborne which culminated with Bill leading HR for Kate Spade as their Sr. VP HR. During his time at Liz, Fifth & Pacific, and Kate Spade, Bill grew professionally and developed relationships with some of the most meaningful people in his life. He also served on the Board of the Kate Spade Foundation which he found most rewarding. After the acquisition of Kate Spade in 2017, Bill went on to consult for the HR team at Daiichi Sankyo. Whichever door Bill walked through, he walked out with the gift of lifelong relationships, and this certainly proved true during his brief tenure at Daiichi. In 2020, Bill retired from a successful 35-year career in HR with no regrets and dreams of the next chapter.
During his brief retirement, Bill enjoyed golfing, target shooting, biking, and working out amongst many others. Bill’s greatest pleasures were trips with his family, whether taking his Harley to the family beach house or annual trips to Maui. Unable to sit still, Bill also tirelessly helped both of his children remodel their homes and cherished every minute. He loved visiting his mother, brother, and sisters often. When not with his family cooking up a delicious breakfast or dinner or practicing one of his new hobbies, Bill loved catching up and spending time with his dear friends and past colleagues.
Bill is survived by the love of his life, Kate, his son Bill and future daughter-in-law Christine Luongo, his daughter Laura and son-in-law Aaron Guy, his mother Helen Higley, brother Brian Higley, sisters Cheryl Piegaro (Dominick) and Maureen Pouch, along with numerous nieces and nephews. Bill is preceded by his father, William J. Higley III, and brother, Greg Higley.
A Catholic Mass was held on his 64th birthday, Thursday, February 16, 2023, at The Church of St. James, in Basking Ridge. Services were followed by a birthday celebration in his honor overlooking a favorite golf course.
Memorial Donations may be made to Bill’s favorite charity, St. Judes.