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April 7, 2011

Fairytales Do Come True!

By Sara In AZ


Do y’all believe in fate? Or that some things were just meant to be? Well I sure do!

Does everyone remember my post on the Bob Hope 1966 Christmas Show  with Lt. Col. William Copp? I had found some old photographs at a local Goodwill of Lt. Col. Copp and the 1966 Bob Hope Vietnam Tour and I bought as many pictures as I could. I could tell the pictures were real treasures and I just had to save a few because, well, that’s just how I roll!

Flash forward a month after the original post was published in December and Bill’s daughter Vicki comes across my ‘Bob Hope’ post and contacts us at No Pattern.  Turns out it was all a mistake that the photos wound up at Goodwill. Just a horrible, horrible mistake y’all. Bill has memorabilia from his flying days in a few different storage units here in Arizona. He and his daughter were sorting through some boxes, with a few other people, when the box containing these photographs was accidentally donated. Uh-oh!!!!!

Vicki and I e-mailed back and forth for a bit and I told her I would really like to meet her Dad and return the pictures to him in person since we don’t live that far away from him. We set up a date and time and the rest, as they say, is history!

It was a great honor to meet Bill Copp and hear all of his stories about World War II and about being in the Air Force and Bob Hope and everything else he has done in his amazing life. He is such a wealth of information and really fun to talk to.

Bill’s wife Shirley passed away a few years ago so he has set up a museum in his home as a tribute to her. He also has memorabilia from his service in the Air Force included in the museum.

Y’all know I had to take tons of pictures of my visit! Here are some of the pictures from my visit with Bill Copp.

This is Bill and his wife Shirley in their younger days. They were married in 1945 and had 63 wonderful years together. They are just a beautiful couple. Bill said Shirley was the life of the party and he was known as “Shirley’s husband”!

Here are some more pictures of Bill and Shirley in their younger days, as well as other pictures from various times in their lives.

Here is another picture of  Bill and Shirley. They are just the most charming couple!

By the way, that castle in the bottom middle picture is Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado. When Bill was stationed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs he and his wife became members of the Historical Society in Manitou Springs – Bill eventually became President. In 1975 the Historical Society decided to acquire a building of their own and that is when they decided to acquire Miramont Castle. Over the years the 42 room building had became somewhat dilapidated and had been sectioned off in approximately 17 apartments. Bill and Shirley, and other members of the Historical Society, decided to renovate the old home and bring it back to its original splendor so everyone could enjoy the Castle. Bill and Shirley were also instrumental in getting this building placed on the  National Register of Historic Places!

Go Bill and Shirley!!! I know we can all appreciate that here at No Pattern!

This is a photo of Bill when he was with NORAD and that is a model of his very favorite airplane to fly – a Sabreliner. Bill went on to explain to me that he flew Bob Hope to a funeral in one of these planes.

Here is a really neat signed piece of memorabilia from the Bob Hope 1966 Christmas Tour as well as a great picture of Bill and Bob Hope below.

This is Bill’s flight jacket. Shirley actually bought him this jacket before he left for World War II and it STILL fits!  Those are all the countries Bill has been to. Amazing!

Bill and Shirley even met the Rat Pack when they stayed at the Sands Hotel in the 1960s! How cool is that! Dean Martin even told Shirley not to play one of the slot machines “Because it was rigged” – wild!

Ahhhhhhhh, those were the days………………….

This is a picture from a T-shirt that Bill has in his home.

Bill shows us one of Shirley’s hats! Shirley was an avid hat collector – that is her, in the red hat, pictured behind Bill.

Here are some really cool pictures that Bill has in his home. That is a young Bill to the far left (on the bottom) in his Air Force uniform. The next picture to the right is Bill and John Wayne. Bill said the reason John is laughing so much in the picture is that Bill had just said, “I think I just stepped into a hole here.” That is awesome Bill! On the bottom right is Bill with Bob Hope and Vic Damone. Wow Bill, what a life!

Finally Bill is reunited with his lost pictures. Yay!

Thanks for the lovely evening Bill, I know we will always be friends.

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14 Responses to Fairytales Do Come True!

  1. Sharon Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Awwww! Bless, bless, bless Bill and his wonderful heart! I’m very envious of Shirley’s obvious good taste and style. A hat collection? Amazing!

  2. RetroRuth Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Sara!!! This has got to be the greatest story here on the blog! It is so wonderful that you were able to reunite Bill with his memories. Love the photos, love the story, and you gotta love Bill!

  3. sablemable Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 10:17 am

    What a wonderful ending to this story, Saraaaaaaa!!!! Oh, my, I was crying (tears of joy)when I read where the daughter had contacted you!

    The good Lord put you in that place to find those photos and ultimately meet Colonel Copp and his family!

    I knew you were a mensch the moment we met! Good going, girlfriend!

  4. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Made me cry! If anyone didn’t believe in fate up until now, they’d have to after hearing about your finding those photos and then being able to meet Mr. Copp to return them. What a truly amazing man. I wish that we could all go and sit down and listen to his stories. I also love the way that he holds his dear Shirley in such regard. To be loved that way must have made her feel very lucky.

    I hope that you two will keep in touch. I think that it would be a shame not to after those amazing photos brought two great people together. What a great story!

  5. Barbara Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

    How incredible! I often wonder when I see certain things, if they really were meant to be donated. I’m glad you were able to give Bill some of his memories back.

    I think it would be cool if we could organize a “meet Bill” day!

  6. Miss RM Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

    That’s such a fantastic story!!

  7. Sara in AZ Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Sharon – Bill is a total sweetheart and Shirley was an amazing woman! Loved the hat collection!!!

    Ruth – Awwwwww, thanks girl. I really appreciate that! Definitely, you gotta love Bill!

    Sable – Thank you! I really do believe I was meant to find those photos and bring them back to Bill — and I am so glad everything worked out so well!

    Eartha – Everyone will definitely have to believe in fate now! Bill really is amazing and sweet and kind and everything else – you would adore him. I’ll just bet that Shirley knew how lucky she was. We will, for sure, keep in touch — always.

    Barbara – I am SO glad I was able to give him these pictures back. I really do wish we could all go over there and everyone could tour his museum – you would love it.

    Miss RM – Thank you!!!!

  8. Jen Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Wow wow wow WOW! This might now be my favourite No Pattern post EVER EVER. Way to go, Ruth! I’m so glad you were able to get Bill’s things back and MEET a hero to boot! Gosh, I’m all choked up. Wonderful, wonderful! Bill seems like such a fine and fun man, too. I love all of the pictures of his wife and his life that he has around.

    Wow. What a terrific story. This just made my day and I wasn’t even there! I hope you keep in touch with Bill, too. Maybe we could all do a birthday or Christmas card blitz for him or something?

  9. Sara in AZ Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Jen – Thanks for the comment! It was actually me, Sara, that meet Bill – not Ruth. 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the story though and a Christmas card blitz just might be in order.

  10. Lorie B. Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    How wonderful! I am so very proud of you Sara for retruning his precious memories to him. I am sure they had been heartbroken when they realized that the pictures had been donated. It is such a blessing to read of someone just being kind. I wish I could give you a hug, but a cyber hug will have to do. (((hugs)))

  11. Andrea Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Oh wow, Sara! That is so awesome! It’s a good thing that you snapped those pictures up from the goodwill! What a totally fantastic story!

  12. Sara in AZ Reply

    April 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Lorie B. – Thank you so much! ((((hugs)))) right back! The look on Bill’s face when he had his lost pictures back in his hands was worth more than gold!

    Andrea – Thanks! I am so glad I got all the pictures that I did, I can’t imagine otherwise.

  13. Imagery (Bill's daughter) Reply

    September 6, 2011 at 11:01 am

    It’s surprising that you mention precious memories for that is another name Bill has for his museum.
    All of your kind comments are appreciated.
    Sara did a nice job capturing the museum in photos.

  14. Pingback: Check It Out Everyone…………A Great New Website About Our Hero William ‘Wild Bill’ Copp! | No Pattern Required

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