William Henry “Bill” Cotton

May 21, 1937 - June 2, 2018

William Henry “Bill” Cotton, 81, of Virginia, passed away June 2, at his home.

He was born May 21, 1937, in Dawson Springs, KY, the son of Melvin and Helen Smith Cotton. He was raised in the home of his maternal grandparents, Ronald and Celi Smith after his mother died when he was 3 years old. He married Marilyn Shoemaker on March 11, 2000, and she survives.

After graduating from high school, he entered the U.S. Army, serving from 1954 to 1963 as a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne and 101st Airborne, stationed mainly in Germany.

He worked many years for the Kentucky and Arkansas Department of Corrections as an officer, firearms instructor for the officers, and as a transportation officer. He retired from the State of Illinois Stateville Correctional Center in March 2001.

In his earlier years, Bill enjoyed fishing and deer hunting. He was an avid gun enthusiast and enjoyed his gun collection, pistol range target shooting and attending gun shows. He was a member of the NRA and Beardstown Elks Club.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn of Virginia; son, William “Bill” (Kirsten) Cotton, Jr. of Lake Barrington; three daughters, Mary Ann Autry of Indiana, Christina (Bobby) Durbin of Hillsboro, and Carolyn “Carrie” (Dale) Knox of Hillsboro; step- daughter Rhonda (Steve) Hodges of Lakeville, MN; step daughter-in- law, Chris Shoemaker of Springfield; sisters, Irene Harnes, Delores Ann Ellis, and Pam Sutton, all of Dawson Springs, KY; seven grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren, seven step-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents; son, Ronald; daughter, Vicki; stepson, David Shoemaker; two brothers, Larry and James; and one granddaughter, Nicole.

Cremation rites have been accorded. There will be no formal visitation or memorial service. Private family burial will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts are suggested to Cass- Schuyler Area Hospice or Cass County Food Pantry.

The Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Virginia is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at buchanancody.com.