Durango native William Joseph McCotter Bohren died after a three-month battle with gastric cancer Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was 26.
Known as Billy or Will McCotter, he was born to Jill and Mike McCotter on Oct. 14, 1984, in Durango. His father died when he was 21 months old, and his mother remarried to Ken Bohren, who later adopted the four McCotter children.
Mr. McCotter attended Needham Elementary, Miller Middle School and Durango High School, graduating in 2003. While growing up in Durango, he worked for Mamas Boy Restaurant, Walmart and Servicemaster Cleaning.
Mr. McCotter enlisted in the Army after graduation. As a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, he deployed to Iraq on a nine-month tour in 2003 and received a Purple Heart for a combat wound. Shortly after his return to the U.S. in 2004, Mr. McCotter deployed again, for three months to Afghanistan.
In January 2005, he transferred to the Old Guard and served as a squad leader in Alpha Company, where he received a Meritorious Service Medal.
After four years with the Old Guard, he transferred to Fort Rucker, Ala., was promoted to warrant officer and entered flight school. On Sept. 2, 2010, he graduated as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot. Mr. McCotter planned to take leave and then transfer to a unit in Hawaii. Because of the onset of his cancer, he never flew a single mission, and he never made it to Hawaii.
Billys family and friends knew him as a caring listener who paid attention to details, his family wrote. He loved having fun and somehow managed to pull off quite a few surprises. ... He was just good at what he did.
They said friends from the Army describe him as a leader, friend and role model.
Mr. McCotter is survived by his parents, Ken and Jill (McCotter) Bohren of Durango; brothers Chris McCotter and Danny Bohren, both of Durango, and Robert Bobby McCotter of Loveland; sister, Michelle McCotter, of State College, Pa.; one nephew; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial service will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, in the gymnasium at Durango High School. The Rev. Mark Lawson will officiate.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 28, 2011, at Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, Va. An Old Guard funeral with full military honors will take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial or funeral contributions may be sent to the William McCotter Memorial Fund, Vectra Bank, Durango Branch, 1101 East Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301; or a PayPal account at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit http://billy-cooter-mccotter.blogspot.com for more of Mr. McCotters story.