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Bill Decker was a well known man about town in Warwick in the 1950s. He was in charge of the Warwick dump, or as the Dispatch article here calls it, the “Village Disposal Grounds.” Bill was a large man, and aside from his memorable unfiltered personality, he was known for his physical strength. His muscle-man reputation was fostered not only by his stature but also the fact that he was often spotted walking through town lugging large objects, things that other men would have hauled in a truck. I recall once seeing him in the middle of town, on Main Street, his huge arms locked above his head holding a chest of drawers. And with this Bill wasn’t just going across the street. He was passing me on the opposite side of the street when I first spotted him and as I continued on my way I remember later turning my head and seeing him in the far distance with the chest still aloft. As for his dress Bill always wore those charcoal denim work pants with suspenders and a white tee shirt. In the summer it was often no shirt but still the suspenders. His shoes were clodhoppers as I recall. He walked with a lengthy stride, stretching with each step as if fording puddles. As far as I know he supported himself with odd jobs but for a number of years, as noted above, he was in charge of the town dump. This job came with a house, a small shack on the dump grounds that Bill made into a home for himself and what I thought to be his common law wife: Lucy. Since the dump was a mile or two on the outskirts of town Bill sometimes spent the night in town, sleeping under the railroad bridge. Some years later (I’m guessing the mid to late 1970’s), after I had moved away from Warwick my mother called me and said, “Ed, Bill Decker died.” When I asked what happened she said, “I guess he died in his sleep, they found him in the morning under the railroad bridge.” ... from Dispatch Photo



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Orange County, NY in the 40s and 50s

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