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William B. “Bill” Havens, age 56 years, of Shrewsbury, NJ, died suddenly on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank, NJ.

Born in Plainfield, NJ, July 30, 1963, son of June Lindland Havens and the late Richard Havens, Bill was raised in Fair Haven, NJ and lived for many years in Little Silver, NJ, prior to moving to Shrewsbury in 2013.

The life of this gentle giant is not ended by this obituary, but rather it is the hope that all reading this get a glimpse into some of the reasons that made Bill so special and why he will surely live on in the hearts and in the actions of so many.

Bill was a 1982 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, and went on to attend Elizabethtown College where he played baseball and soccer. An outstanding athlete from when he was a child, Bill was an accomplished pitcher.

A ‘people person’, Bill had a natural ability to connect with anyone he met. His support of anyone, anywhere, anytime and for any reason made him both well loved and well respected. He would strike up a conversation and have that person be a close friend by the end of that conversation. His genuine care, compassion, and humor would come through every time, and it was not unusual for local outings to take much longer than usual because Bill would most likely know most of the people wherever he went.

When he was 20 years old, fate would have Bill take a job at the Little Silver Family Pharmacy where he would be trained in his new job by a 19-year-old Ms. Leslie Nelson. Although noticing the “hunk” when he came in on his first day, it would be a few years before the two would begin to date. Their friendship blossomed, and they would be married on March 18, 1989 in Tower Hill Presbyterian Church, Red Bank, NJ.

The union of their love would produce the family that Bill was so proud to boast about to everyone and anyone. Rebecca came first, and would be followed five years later by her sister, Samantha. The two were the apples of their Dad’s eyes. There was nothing he would not do for ‘his ladies’ and both recall their Dad preparing them for the real world in ways they never could have foreseen. He was proud to coach them in the Little Silver Rec Softball League and was there for every event and function one could think of. He taught them to use every tool possible and change a tire on the fly.

Bill’s love of family came first, but this was surely followed by his love of woodworking. A master woodworker, Bill was admired as a true artist and was known to tell people, “If you can dream it, I can build it.” And build he did. For many years he was the owner and operator of Havens Fine Woodwork where he created many custom and varied pieces of furniture, trim, and basically anything his customers could dream of. He also worked for many years at Custom Woodwork, Red Bank, NJ and Dykes Lumber Yard, Aberdeen, NJ.

His love of sports never faded and he was a proud New York Mets and New York Jets fan. He played softball for many years with the Little Silver Crocs and was proud to participate in the Seaside Polar Bear Plunge each year to help benefit Special Olympics. Bill also was a fan of any type of new, exotic sports car and surely there was a new Porsche waiting for him as he crossed the gates into heaven.

St. Francis of Assisi once wrote, “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” Bill’s legacy, besides the ideal that being covered in sawdust is the best way to be, is that no matter what, do everything you do with heart. Bill, your heart made this world a better place, and will continue to do so through all of the people you touched over the years. Rest in the sweetest of peace.

In addition to his father, Bill was preceded in death by a brother, Gary Havens.

Surviving are his wife, Leslie J. Nelson Havens; his daughters, Rebecca and Samantha Havens; his mother, June Havens; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Dawne and Mark Dragonetti, and Jill and Mark Lyasko; his sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Debbie and William Lamberson, and Carole Costell; his aunts, Gail Wilson and Ruth Havens; his nieces and nephews, Greg, Julianna, Bryan, Justin, and Tara; his great nephews, Shawn and James; his faithful puppies, Cooper and Riley; several extended family; and many dear friends.

Given the current gathering restrictions in place in New Jersey, a public service is being planned at a later date under the care and direction of Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 38 State Highway 31, Flemington, NJ 08822. Please check back on this page for updated service information; again, the information will not be available until the restrictions are lifted.

A private family visitation at Thompson Memorial Home, Red Bank, NJ, followed by burial at Fair View Cemetery, Middletown, NJ, took place under the care and direction of Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Flemington, NJ.

***Due to the inability to have a public ceremony at this time, and knowing how vital the love of family, friends, and the community is when someone passes, everyone reading this is encouraged to leave a detailed note on this page—perhaps a favorite story, or maybe the way Bill touched your heart—something to help inspire a measure of comfort and hope to all who read the comments.***

Please visit Bill’s permanent memorial site at to light a memorial candle, leave messages of condolence, share words of comfort and recollection, and post photographs of his life.

Those who wish to make a memorial contribution to honor Bill’s life are asked to do so to the Seaside Polar Bear Plunge via ‘In Memory Of"’ donations. Please click to be taken to his personal donation page (link will be active Monday evening). For those who wish to make a contribution via mail, please make checks payable to ‘In Memory Of’ and mail to P.O. Box 5472, Charlottesville, VA 22905. Kindly note ‘Bill Havens’ in the memo.

Bruce S. Thompson, Owner & Manager, NJ LIC #3740