Bill Cotter from the June 2000 Guns Save Life meeting with some of his very impressive collection of Winchester lever guns from the 1800s.


Bill Cotter, Guns Save Life’s long-time treasurer during much of the 2000s, passed away in his home yesterday.

Visitation is Sunday, February 10th, from 4-6pm at Owens Funeral Home in Champaign.

Services are Monday at 11:00a.m., also at Owens.


Frank Wright wrote this text message about Mr. Cotter this morning:

“Dan Sadler just advised the paper is reporting the death yesterday of our good friend, Bill Cotter!  Bill was one of those very rare, “unique” men, and was a true military hero.  Not replaceable.  We miss him already.”

Mr. Cotter was reluctant to talk about it but his unit sustained horrendous losses during the human wave attacks during the Korean War.  In fact, if memory serves, Mr. Cotter was one of only two men in his entire unit to make it before reinforcements arrived.  They melted machinegun barrels and very nearly depleted their ammunition supplies mowing down advancing enemies, who were sometimes barefoot.  They stacked dead Chinese like cord-wood before the bodies froze to act as “sandbags” in the sub-arctic temperatures.  In the end, they held the line against the repeated Chinese attacks.


CHAMPAIGN (News-Gazette)  – William Patrick (Bill) Cotter, 82, of Champaign passed away on Feb. 9, 2013, at home with his loving wife and four children at his side.

There will be a visitation from 4 to 6 p.m. today (Sunday, Feb. 10) at Owens Funeral Home, 101 N. Elm St, Champaign. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the funeral home with the Rev. Ricky Spindler officiating. Interment will be at Mount Olive Cemetery, Mayview.

Bill was born Dec. 7, 1930, to James and Agnes (Weisman) Cotter in Bronx, N.Y. He married Beverly LaRose on Sept. 14, 1957, in Paramus, N.J.

Bill is survived by his wife, Beverly; children, Deborah (Steven Heater) of Urbana, Carol (Mathis) of Champaign, William P. (Suzanne) of Waveland, Miss., and Thomas (Kristie) of Greeley, Colo.; 12 grandchildren, Theresa, Kimberly, Amanda (Lyndon Headley), and Christopher Heater, Thomas, Jeffrey (Tracey), Paige, and Megan Mathis, Nicholas, Melissa, and William Cotter, Christian Cotter; and seven great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James; and sister, Jean Doughty.

Bill was a member of the Fighting 69th Regiment of the New York National Guard, achieving the rank of sergeant.

Bill worked most of his life in the construction industry, starting as a sheet metal worker and ultimately becoming a construction manager. He oversaw the construction of buildings in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and Newman. He retired from GHR Engineers and Associates of Champaign in 2000. In his younger years, Bill worked as a part-time police officer.

Bill enjoyed projects around his home, and the homes of his children and grandchildren. He was a member of AMBUCS and the Champaign County Rifle Association, as well as a life member of the NRA.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, donations in memory of Bill Cotter may be made to: Wounded Warrior Project at, or Champaign County Pheasants Forever habitat fund.

Condolences may be offered at