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 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