TRENTON, NJ – William “Bill” Frink was among three New Jersey COVID-19 casualties remembered by Governor Phil Murphy during his May 16 news briefing. Frink passed away on May 3 due to COVID-19 complications. Frink was a lifelong South Plainfield resident, ever loyal to his community.
“We remember William ‘Bill’ Frank Jr., a lifelong resident of South Plainfield in Middlesex County, who we lost at the age of 77,” Murphy said. “In fact, the only time Bill left South Plainfield was for the four years following enlistment in the United States Air Force and his service during the Vietnam War. Once back in his hometown, Bill joined the South Plainfield police and served his community for 30 years before his retirement in the year 2000. And even then, he wasn’t ready to stop and kept working as a security guard for Halls Warehouse in, you guessed it, South Plainfield.”
Murphy went on to paint the picture of Frink’s life, a life rich with good friends and loving family, a life lived in service to others by a man devoted to making the world a better place.
“He (Frink) loved spending his free time outside and making his yard the one that everyone was envious of especially at Halloween when he would go overboard and turn it into a graveyard scene,” Murphy continued. “He also had a deep love for animals and besides his own dogs and cats, he always found time to pick up donations for the Humane Society. Bill leaves his wife Melissa with whom I had the great honor of speaking yesterday son, Troy, and daughter, Kerry, and her husband as well as a sister and an extended family. He also leaves behind many friends, including my very good friend Pat Colligan, President of the PBA, and the entire Borough of South Plainfield to which he gave so much of his time and energy. Bill, we thank you for your service to our nation and to your community. God bless your soul and God bless your wife, kids and friends.”
Those who loved and admired Frink tuned in to watch the press conference from their homes.
"Mr. William Frink embodied, embraced and represented the spirit of South Plainfield in every way,” said Councilwoman Christine Faustini, Council President. “He served his neighbors, loved ones and hometown always before himself, both professionally and privately. This is the mark of not only a hero, but a true leader.”
As a policeman for three decades, Frink touched many lives. Watching over the community with a protective eye, those who knew him say he always had time to listen and be a strong shoulder to lean on when needed, ever ready to help in any way possible.
“An overall great guy and mentor to me at the Police Department, he will be greatly missed,” said Tim Kelly, Emergency Medical Service Trustee. “He was also a wonderful fishing partner. We loved to make those slapping tail sounds in the face.”
The South Plainfield Police Department stated in a May 4 Facebook post, “Yesterday, our department lost a very special person to COVID-19. William Frink served the South Plainfield Police Department and the residents of this town for 30 years until his retirement in 2000. He was a familiar face around town and always had a smile on his face. Today we escorted our brother from JFK Hospital to McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals where he was saluted by current and former members of the South Plainfield Police Department. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Billy’s family and friends. Rest easy brother, you will be missed.”
A devoted member of the South Plainfield Elks for 45 years, Frink was said to truly love the charitable organization and deeply valued the friendships he made over the years.
"Everything Governor Murphy said about Bill Frink's service to his country and his community was exemplified by his membership in the Elks,” said Bill Seesselberg, Exalted Ruler Elks Lodge #2298. “Not only was he a deep resource for the history of South Plainfield, he was a friendly face around the lodge and supportive of all our activities. He will be missed."
Frink’s friends and family say he lived life to the fullest, thoroughly enjoying those around him. From soaking up the sun at the shore, to food shopping at his favorite grocery store, to cooking for loved ones, Frink treasured the little moments in life, finding great joy in life’s simple pleasures.
During Saturday’s press conference, Murphy said the statewide total stands at 10,249 lives lost to COVID-19, adding that those who have passed can never become just a statistic.
“They were real people with real families, who have incredible stories and now their lives and their stories are part the collective memory of all,” stated Murphy.
Murphy said that those who have passed away must live on, not just in the memories of their loved ones, but in the memory of all, adding that no one must ever forget even one person who has died because of COVID-19.
Members of the South Plainfield community say they will never forget their beloved friend.
“I pray Bill’s family and friends may find peace at this time of tremendous loss,” Faustini said. “I am sure he is continuing to watch over them and South Plainfield from a better place."