Bill Connolly Isn't Santa or a Serial Killer
A retired former salesman, Connolly often can be seen walking around Hopatcong. But he's about more than the Kris Kringle beard.
You probably know Bill Connolly. But you might not know it.
There's something that the 67-year-old who often walks around Hopatcong wants you to know, though.
"Other than not being Santa Claus, not being a serial killer and not being a drunk," he said, "that's what I want out there."
Connolly has lived in Hopatcong for about 30 years. And while he's made many friends through Byram Bay Christian Church—he even represented the church during the Memorial Day parade—the Hawthorne native might be best known for his long white beard, scuffed New Balances and penchant for strolling down Hopatcong's main arteries instead of driving to his destinations.
Connolly doesn't have a car but he doesn't mind.
"I am poor," he said. "There's no doubt about that."
But with Connolly, there's more than what meets the eye.
Connolly started visiting Lake Hopatcong when he was a child. His grandparents, he said, used to trek up to the lake in a motorcycle and sidecar and camp for days near River Styx.
A former software salesman, Connolly retired in 2009 after a rupturing a quadriceps after slipping on ice in Dover. An avid non-fiction reader, he has a master's degree in marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack.. And he's got a 48-year-old daughter, Emily, whom he said jokes with friends that he dated Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry, with whom he want to high school.
Growing up, Connolly was a part-time athlete who enjoyed basketball and track. He also enjoyed working on cars.
Which could be considered ironic since he can often be seen walking through the borough. Connolly said that though he's faced criticism and even danger—once, a man, who Connolly said seemed intoxicated, pulled over his car and threatened to fight Connolly—he said the criticism doesn't get under his skin.
"It's noticeable," he said. "But I can't really say I get upset about much though."