Obituary of Lt. Col. William Charles Cowperthwait (retired USMC)

A Vietnam veteran and longtime resident of Mesa, Arizona, died after a long illness on July 16, 2022. Bill was born in Chicago on April 29, 1936 to Rosemary (Kennedy) and William B. Cowperthwait. Siblings include two sisters, Carol Ann Cunningham, Corene Mary Frick (who predeceased him) and brother Thomas Victor Cowperthwait. Bill attended St. Ignatius College Prep before earning a degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He also earned an MBA from GWU and a Masters in Systems Engineering from USC. Bill was commissioned in 1959 into the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Second Lieutenant. After flight training, he was commissioned as a naval aviator. He flew CH-53 and CH-46 helicopters for three tours in Vietnam. After 21 years of service, he retired in 1980 after serving as Commanding Officer of HMH-362 and as a Controller for Marine Wing Support Group 27, Cherry Point, NC. The USMC honored Bill for his service with a Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, an Air Medal with the number 17 (340 de Combat), a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, a Vietnam Defense Ribbon and National Defense Ribbon. On November 10, 1962, Bill married the love of his life, Nancy Jeanne Hunt in Okinawa, Japan. In addition to Nancy, Bill is survived by his four children: Christopher (wife Sheri Sandberg), Maureen Nemec (wife Gary), William K. (wife Catherine) and Daniel (wife Shelley). He is also survived by 11 grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was a founding member of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Mesa and where he served as a Eucharistic minister. Additionally, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus, was very active in his community at The Wells in Mesa, and served on The Wells Board of Directors. He has volunteered with the Saint Vincent DePaul Society, the ManKind Project and is remembered for his work with the Mesa Police Department Victim Assistance Program. Bill and Nancy loved to travel and spent many years touring the country in their motorhome after retirement. Bill was a man of faith, family, friends and freedom. He loved serving his country and being a Marine. A wake and service will be held Tuesday, July 26, 2022 from 4-7 p.m. at Mountain View Funeral Home (7900 East Main St, Mesa). A funeral mass will be held Wednesday, July 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church (2213 N Lindsay Rd, Mesa); followed by patriotic honors. Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at a later date. A memorial donation can be made in Bill Cowperthwait’s name to Hospice of the Valley ( or to St. Vincent DePaul, St Bridget Conference, Mesa.

Posted July 22, 2022

Posted in The Arizona Republic

service information


Mountain View Funeral Home (7900 East Main St., Mesa)

July 26, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

funeral mass

St. Bridget’s Catholic Church (2213 N Lindsay Rd, Mesa

July 27, 2022 at 8:00 a.m.