Bernie KoPrince – Gold Star Mom

Bernie KoPrince – Gold Star Mom's Story

Lcpl William C. Koprince, Jr. was KIA 12/27/06 in Habbaniyah, Iraq. He was on his 3rd tour, 2nd in Iraq. William was stationed out of Camp LeJeune, NC where he was a team leader with Marines 3/2 I company. Billy, as his family refers to him, enlisted in the Marines in 2003, just before his 21st bday. Billy was really finding his way into adult life and had just started planning his plan to escape from the Marines, as he was hoping to start transitioning into civilian life after arriving back in the states from his deployment to Iraq.

Billy loved the outdoors and hiking the mountains.  In his footlocker was a page in his notebook where Billy wrote his plan for a weeklong hike on the Appalachian Trail, something he wanted his Marine brothers to do together once home.  He found peace in the great outdoors and wanted to share that with his battle buddies. One of Billy’s many attributes was he took care of others, I’m assuming he wanted his battle buddies to experience the peace he found while hiking the mountains.

Billy has 2 nieces and 2 nephews he never had the opportunity to meet, he was so good with kids I know he would have had a great time with them, and they would have loved him.  We have started hiking with his nieces and nephews, they seem to really enjoy the hikes, waterfalls, picnics, and being in the mountains, jumping around on the rocks in the stream, and exploring.  Billy whittled his own walking stick so in passing along his love of the mountains we have purchased walking stick for each of the kids to use on our hikes.  Billy’s first-born nephew, William Moore, named after his uncle, and looks so much like him that his sister, Morgan, catches herself doing a double take when looking at pictures.   His niece Anna loves to draw, Billy always doodled on his school worksheets, I use to remind him he couldn’t draw until he completed his work.  Campbell and Abigail are still pretty young, but they can tell you much about their Uncle Billy! 

Billy is buried at Kingston Memorial Gardens off Lawnville Rd., Kingston, right next to his hero, Morgan Wickman, grandfather and Veteran of WWII.  Each birthday we decorate Billy’s resting place with something that was important to him, Tennessee Vols football team, or we have a picnic in the cemetery with his favorite fast food, pizza.  The kids always enjoy helping paint the end zone and eating their pizza in remembrance of a special man, their uncle.

If I were to describe Billy to you I would say in his early years he loved Legos, hated school, was adventurous (that’s another story in and of itself), and was just a really loving caring kid.  He did not deviate much from that as he grew but he did learn how to spend money.  On one of his deployments, I made the comment that he was the only person that I knew that could go to a third world country and spend money like he did!  He would order something on-line and have it shipped to me, he would have me check it for defects, and then have me send it on to him.

This beautiful garden I have been gifted will certainly remind me of our times together in the outdoors; our picnics & hikes, and will help me reflect on what a great person Billy had grown into.  He is missed by his sister, Morgan, his mom, Bernie, nieces and nephews, brother in law, Andy, & other family members and friends.

Bernie KoPrince