Cover photo for Captain William "Bill" Thompson Bittmann Sr.'s Obituary
1942 Captain Bill 2024

Captain William "Bill" Thompson Bittmann Sr.

December 29, 1942 — April 29, 2024


Captain William "Bill" Thompson Bittmann Sr., 81, of Beaufort, North Carolina, passed away at his home on Monday, April 29, 2024.

Bill was born on December 29, 1942, in Camden, New Jersey and raised in nearby Gloucester, New Jersey, where he developed an interest in the outdoors at an early age. Before graduating Gloucester High School, he was known to go fur trapping early in the morning to help fund his love of hot-rod cars, which earned the nickname "Fireball." Following high school, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a radio equipment repairman and was deployed as a forward base operator during the Vietnam War.

Following his honorable discharge, Bill once again gravitated to the outdoors, owning a sporting goods store before working as a mate on several NJ-based charter and party boats. Upon earning his Captain's License in 1978 he purchased his first charter boat, "Endeavor." This would spur his next forty years as a much-respected captain based in Cape May, NJ. In 1985, he hand-built his own 55-foot boat, "Morning Star," to carry large parties in greater comfort while pursuing gamefish ever further from shore. His design was so popular that he was contracted to build a sister ship the following year at Yanks Boatworks in Tuckahoe, NJ.

Captain Bill also assisted in the formation of the Cape May County Charter and Party Boat Association and served as Sergeant at Arms. This group was instrumental in spearheading the NJ Artificial Reef program. He frequently donated his services to the Adventure Aquarium to catch various reef fish along with Sand Tiger Sharks for their exhibits. However, his favorite trip each year was volunteering his boat and time for Special Olympics fishing outings.

During the winter months, Captain Bill operated his "Waterfowler Guide Service" for over 20 years targeting ducks and geese throughout southern NJ. He was internationally recognized as a top guide for Atlantic Brant in multiple wing-shooting publications and hosted clients from around the world.

In 1996, Bill fell in love with Carteret County, NC while vacationing in the area. As he stood atop Fort Macon looking out at Beaufort inlet, he vowed to return. In 2008, equipped with his new boat "Top Shelf," he kept his promise, targeting giant Bluefin tuna from Town Creek Marina. Captain Bill soon purchased a home in Straits and quickly learned the inshore waters of Down East. There, he took great pride in harvesting fish, crabs, clams, oysters, shrimp, and scallops. He also took his hunting knowledge into the NC woods in successful pursuit of whitetail deer. He processed his own animals and became known for his deer sausage and burger.

In his backyard shop Captain Bill hosted regular "captains' meetings" with his new neighbors who quickly became close friends. There he freely shared his lifetime of experience, stories and tricks of the trade over cocktails and fresh seafood. After Hurricane Florence in 2018, Captain Bill pitched in to help his neighbors, acting on a piece of wisdom he shared many times: "A friend isn't just somebody you have a beer with."

Captain Bill leaves behind his loving wife, Mary Alice Bittmann (Young); three daughters, Kimberly Olson, Kelly Olson Seward (Michael), and Jackie Presson (Don); along with his son/fishing partner, Bill Jr. (Grace Yen). Also, three surviving sisters, Maryann Shoemaker, Karin Gulizio, and Nancy Wade. He leaves behind four grandchildren, Jacob and Luke Benson, and Max and Matti Presson.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Elizabeth Bittmann (Duchneskie); father, Henry Bittmann; brother, Emory Bittmann; and daughter, Amy Suzanne Bittmann.

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Captain William "Bill" Thompson Bittmann Sr., please visit our flower store.


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