Major General Bill Cooper, age 93, passed away peacefully on March 1, 2023, at The Glenridge, Sarasota, Florida following a brief illness.
General Cooper was born in Birmingham Alabama on June 19, 1929. He grew up in Prattville, Alabama where he attended Stark Middle and Senior High Boy’s school and excelled as a student, and on the football and track team. He held a number of state records in track and field. Bill attended The Citadel where upon graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He and Mary Jane Beers Cooper were married on February 16, 1952. Within a year General Cooper was deployed and served in Korea.
Throughout his military career, Bill held a variety of important command and staff positions culminating in his assignment as Vice Director for Foreign Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC. Other key assignments included Chief of Staff of the North American Air Defense Command, Peterson Air force Base, Colorado; and Commanding General, 32nd Army Air Defense Command, United States Army Europe. General Cooper served in Vietnam as Commander, 5th Battalion, 2nd Artillery, First Field Force Artillery and as Executive Officer to the Assistant Chief of Staff, Headquarters United States Army Vietnam.
Bill held a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Miami and a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University. He was a 1962 graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and a 1971 graduate of the Army War College.
General Cooper received the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medals, and the Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster).
When Bill retired, he and Mary Jane enjoyed traveling and exploring Europe, Central America, and South America. He spoke Spanish and Romanian while she spoke German and Romanian. They moved to Sarasota in 1998 and in 2006 moved to The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch. They developed many friends in the Sarasota and The Glenridge community and loved attending the Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Opera House, and Sarasota Ballet.
Bill is survived and loved by his wife of 71 years, Mary Jane Beers Cooper; children William (Jennifer) Cooper, Leslie (Mark) Sillcox and grandchildren; Jason (Jessie) Tortora and Christopher Tortora.
A memorial service will be held Friday April 14th, 10:30 AM at the Sarasota National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St Boniface Church or toHospice Foundation (TidewellFoundation.org).