GREENVILLE - Local attorney William “Bill” H. Cooper died March 16 at the age of 64, and will be honored in a memorial service with full military ceremony by the Greenville Honor Guard on Friday at Oliver-Floyd Funeral Home in Greenville.
Most of those who knew him and mourn his loss respected him as a gentleman, lawyer with the Hanes Law Group in Greenville and as a veteran.
“Bill was always friendly and professional,” said Darke County Common Pleas Court Judge Jonathan Hein. “He cared about his clients’ interests and seemed to have positive experiences with them.”
Carla Cothran said, “I worked with Bill for 16 years and discovered that he had a wonderful quirky sense of humor. He was also compassionate, caring but also a bit of a perfectionist. Bill really took pride in his service to our country through the National Guard. But most of all he really enjoyed legally helping other service men and women that were being deployed overseas. Bill took great pride in family. But his ultimate love was for his wife, Nancy, and sons, Edward and Tim. Both of his boys worked at our office during a couple of summers and trust me they have that same quirky sense of humor.”
Cothran said her favorite memory of Bill was one time that she had gone to Greenville National Bank to make a deposit.
“While I was there, it started pouring down rain,” she said. “I waited at the main doors waiting for the rain to stop or if I saw someone that was heading back over toward the office, I would see if I could share their umbrella. Well, Bill went by and I yelled at him to come back and get me. He laughed but he did. Now mind you he was close to 6’ 8” and I come in at 5’ 1-1/2” on good days. By the time we got back, I was soaked and Dan Schipfer laughed as I came in behind Bill and stated, ‘You couldn’t wait on a shorter attorney?’”
“My connection to the family was that I had Nancy as a professor at Edison [Community College],” remarked Gary Cloyd of Castine Church of the Brethren. “I knew Bill through her and found him a friendly individual, pleasant and always wearing a smile. I do work with the probation department and everyone in the department speaks highly of Bill.”
“I thought he was awesome and a wonderful attorney,” commented John Tabler of the adult probation office. “He was a joy to work with from our office, and was a complete joy to be around. I can’t speak enough about him. From the first day I worked here he was very friendly and willing to help get me through the initial process. He was a very caring individual when working criminal cases at the courthouse.”
Roger Shellabarger, bailiff in the Darke County Common Pleas Court, had this to say about Cooper: “He was a great guy and had a wonderful sense of humor. He enjoyed life with a healthy perspective on his job and life. He always enjoyed comics, and we exchanged them. He did his job well.”
Doug Black, on the board of Darke County Veterans Services, said Cooper was concerned with people who who came to the office or commission to help when he could. I was on the board with him for several years, he about a year longer than me. It was nice that if we had a legal question, he made a good person to be on board. Being a veteran himself, he was very veteran-oriented and that made it nice. He was more informed on what was going on since he was on longer than me. I knew him for a lot of years. He was judge advocate for the American Legion, too.”
“The funeral is Friday and we get together as attorneys to honor Bill with a resolution which I presume will be read,” stated Mike McClurg. “He was a good partner. He was one of those guys who approached life a little differently. He did not take life as serious as some of us want to do. From the standpoint of military, his service was exceptional for what he had done to get to the rank that he did. He’ll be missed by all of us, with his unique approach to life and the law. We will have a void.”
“I met him when I first interviewed for the job in 1985,” said Tom Guillozet, who works in the Hanes Law Group out of Versailles. “I was out of law school and it was my first introduction to him. I have fond recollections. He was an avid reader of all sorts and was an avid movie watcher. He could come up up with quotes from books that applied to a situation. He always would like to bring in meals or leftovers from what he cooked the night before with a wide variety of things brought in. He belonged to a gourmet club and liked to do that. We pulled jokes on him by hiding his stuff he brought in. After a while, he got use to it and we stopped doing it. He was a good person to go to for procedural matters on legal issues. He never took himself too seriously. He was not athletically inclined because of his height. He was self-deprecating in that regard.”
“When Bill joined the office, he obviously over the years, became efficient at as a trial practitioner,” remarked Dan Schipfer, another partner in the Hanes Law Group. “From a skill standpoint, he was very good at legal writing. One thing someone else said, over the last months when he was out of the office with his illness, his clients really appreciated him. All of the attorneys met his clients and had respect for him. He treated everybody he represented with respect whether it was a criminal work or general practice. He treated each of them with respect and dignity. His sense of humor is something we had privy to whenever he was in the office. He had a grin, a good word and wanted to tell a story daily. It kept it a little lively in the legal environment. Those memories, in a nutshell, are ones I will hold and miss. We all talked to Bill and bounced ideas off him. He provided direction and suggestions that were useful. He never lost his sense of humor. He will be missed. He came to the office in 1977. He was very much an integral part of our law firm.”
Another law partner, Tom Graber, remarked, “Greenville and Darke County has lost a valuable citizen in Bill. I knew him not only as a colleague and member of the firm, but as a friend. He was one of our gourmet group. He was an outstanding cook as well as outstanding attorney. He showed true compassion for the people he represented. He was serious when it was time to be serious and jovial in the happier times. He will be missed.”