|By Noozhawk Obituaries Desk
|Monday, 10 March 2008
Everyone’s best friend, Bill Cooper burst through the gates of heaven on Saturday, March 8, at the age of 54. Bill was a humble and gifted man who devoted his life to Christ; our painful loss is heaven’s joyful gain.
Bill Cooper is survived by his wife, Judy, daughter Tracy and son Grant, and countless people in the community who called him their friend. (Cooper family photo)
Bill was born March 23, 1953, to William and Marion Cooper of Orinda. As a child, his love for the outdoors and God’s creations was enriched through scouting. Having earned Eagle Scout at the age of 13, his qualities of love and devotion were evident early in life. This gentle giant was a wrestler in high school, graduating from Miramonte High School in 1971. Bill’s parents proudly watched his artistic gifts blossom into the design of homes and buildings as he graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a Bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1976. He went on to grace Santa Barbara and Ventura counties with creative architectural designs for 25 years.
While a student at Cal Poly, Bill made the defining decision of his life; he responded to the Gospel and committed his life to Jesus Christ. This remained the focus throughout his life and was the source of all his loving deeds. His life was like a magnificent building, with his Christian faith as the foundation.
Bill married Judy Schock, the love of his life, in July 1980. For the past 27 years, he has been the epitome of a loving husband and devoted father to his family. Bill, a.k.a. Laughing Bear, has been a beloved friend to many and a valued member of the Carpinteria/Santa Barbara communities. He poured his energy into El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Boy Scouts, Rotary and more.
Left behind are treasures of his beautiful photographs, which are vivid memories of his travels. Through his photos, Bill’s family continues to cherish their time in Hawaii, France and at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. His photos taken in Okinawa, Japan, have immortalized his father’s memories of serving in World War II. Bill’s landscapes of Carpinteria have captured the beauty of his beloved town.
Bill is survived by his wife, Judy; his daughter, Tracy, and son, Grant; parents Bill and Marion Cooper; brother Ken and wife Carol and their children, Kevin and Scott; as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in the Bay Area. He was a devoted son to his mother-in-law, Doris Schock of Pacific Palisades, and a favorite brother-in-law and uncle to Steve and wife Patty Schock of Lincoln, Neb., and their children, Andy, Maryl, Ryan, Jolie and Matthew; sister-in-law Laurel Schock of San Luis Obispo; sister-in-law Debbie Van Valin and husband Tim of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and their children Nate, Timothy, Annie and Luke; and loyal friend Rockafeller.
A memorial service will be held at El Montecito Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 12. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be given in Bill’s memory to El Montecito Presbyterian Church, 1455 East Valley Road, Santa Barbara 93108, made payable to Baja Mexico Ministries, his favorite charity.
Bill had a unique mix of masculine energy, sensitive compassion and a crazy sense of humor that attracted people to him. Larger than life, he was carried into heaven by strong angels to be united with his Maker and Lord of his life. Let’s continue Bill’s legacy by laughing daily and loving each other to the fullest. He leaves us with big shoes to fill, as his thoughtfulness and enthusiasm was seemingly endless. He will live on in all of our hearts!
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in (Bill Cooper) has perfected it today in Christ Jesus." — Philippians 1:6
From: Bill Cooper
Date: July 7, 2007 4:33:19 PM PDT
To: Bill Cooper
Subject: Brazil Mission
Dear Elmo prayer warriors--
Just a quick note to let you know that Grant, Cheyne and our youth pastor, Chris, made it safely to their destination in Brazil yesterday, after three flights and about 24 hours of total travel time! Bill Randolph will be joining them next week.
This is great news, and we thank everyone for their prayers and support for this mission.
• • •
From: Bill Cooper
Date: November 27, 2007 5:07:10 PM PDT
To: Bill Cooper
Subject: services for Margie Linton and Dorothy Collins
Please pray for the services for Marg and Dorothy. Marge's service will be on Friday (11/30) at 1:00, and Dorothy Collins service will be on Monday (12/3) at 1:00 ... Please pray for both families. Also, remember Ardis Higgins at this time as Miji spent some time with her this morning letting her know that Marg had passed away. Thank you for all your support and prayers.
• • •
From: Bill Cooper
Date: February 29, 2008 6:51:54 PM PDT
To: Bill Cooper
Subject: John Watts
What a comfort to know that our dear ELMO Family were remembering John today with his pace maker procedure. It went well and he is doing fine. It will probably take about 24 hours to get all of the anesthesia out of his system, but otherwise all is well. Please know that you are all appreciated so much.
• • •
The messages would arrive randomly. Three- or four-sentence e-mails outlining a need, or a thanksgiving, an operation, the occasional death. They were simple prayer requests, no different than those heard in communities of faith anywhere in the world. Indeed, I've heard them and responded to them all my life.
What made these different? And why have they captured my attention for almost two years?
Maybe it was the messenger.
Bill Cooper was a big bear of a man, but one of the friendliest, gentlest people I've ever come across. He found humor in every situation and really didn't need a reason to laugh. Humble and unassuming, he was your typical, laid-back California-kind of guy.
Except for the light that sparkled in his eyes and seemed to radiate from deep within his soul. Bill Cooper was on fire for Jesus Christ, and it showed.
I first met Bill at a parents meeting for El Montecito Presbyterian Church's youth program. My family and I are parishioners at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church but my daughter is a regular in both youth groups. She's a sociable teenager, and has plenty of friends at each church. Very ecumenical, I noted. Bill laughed.
One day, he was talking about ElMo's e-mail prayer list and I asked to be included. At first, like a newbie, I would respond earnestly to each message. After a time, routine set in and I would just delete them after hurriedly saying a prayer. Once I even typed Bill an "unsubscribe" reply because I realized I didn't know half the people whose names I was reading. Right before I clicked "send," however, I had an epiphany.
As I was relating to Bill's daughter, Tracy, earlier this week, in my business, I get a ton of e-mail each day — upward of 200 messages. But those periodic bursts Bill was sending me were incredibly simple reminders that, as Christians, we're part of a larger body that must not ignore the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ — no matter how busy or important we think we are. It's the uncomplicated act of taking time out to reconnect with God on someone else's behalf that is so rewarding. I have Bill to thank for that.
I only wish I could.
Late Saturday afternoon, Bill Cooper left this earth for his heavenly reward. He was struck down Wednesday evening and hospitalized, but there was nothing mere mortals could do. In the prime of his life, at age 54, he was gone.
"Bill's death is a reminder that the significance of a person's life is not in duration but in donation," the Rev. Harold Bussell, ElMo's senior pastor, told me this week.
Those words are as profound as Bill's faith was deep. For, like the apostle Paul, Bill had released his life to Jesus Christ. But unlike so many of us, he had spent the rest of his life living for Him.
Bill touched the lives of countless people in this town. He'll be eulogized — and rightly so — for his accomplishments as a husband and a father, as an architect and a Boy Scout leader, and as a man who walked arm in arm with God. Within that context, the part about being a prayer warrior may seem insignificant. But not to me.
Bill Cooper has sent his last e-mail, but I know he now knows that I got his message.
Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk's founder, publisher and CEO.