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William W. “Billy” Cooke, 90, passed away peacefully in his home, in Tappahannock, Virginia, on Sunday, November 26, 2023. Billy was born in Tappahannock, raised in Battery, and attended Tappahannock High School, where he played centerfield on the baseball team. Billy served two years in the US Army before attending Randolph-Macon College, where he continued to play baseball. After earning his bachelors degree in Economics in 1959, he returned to Essex County, where he became a prominent member of the community: he served as a deacon, clerk, and Adult Sunday School teacher at Howertons Baptist Church for over 30 years; worked at Southside Bank for 6 years before founding Essex Concrete Corporation in 1965; helped found the Tappahannock Little League; built Moore’s Building Supply in 1969, Rappahannock Shopping Center in 1972, and Aylett Sand and Gravel in 1978; served on the Essex County Board of Supervisors for 16 years; built Old Creek Subdivision in 1980, Hoskins Creek Place in 1985, and Hobbs Hole Golf Course in 1996, among countless other achievements.


Billy enjoyed PGA tournaments and Atlanta Braves games, which he’d happily watch with his family over a bowl of ice cream. Billy was often found in his office at the Essex Concrete Main Office or checking on the happenings at Hobbs Hole. Though he could be stern and serious when the occasion called for it, Billy never missed an opportunity to catch up with family and friends. If there was music and open floor, you were almost guaranteed to find Billy and his partner-in-all-things, Betty Anne, dancing to the beat. After retirement, he and Betty Anne would spend their winters in Siesta Key, Florida, where they formed strong bonds with other “snowbirds.”


Billy is preceded in death by his brother, Frank; and dear friends, Willie Cleaton, Alec Dillard, and James Moore. Billy is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Betty Anne Cooke; his brother, Gene Cooke (Mary Jane); his sons, William “Keith” Cooke and Stephen “Kent” Cooke (Kelly); grandchildren, Elizabeth Murray (Matt), Meghan Cooke, William “Logan” Cooke, and Caroline “Clay” Cooke; a number of nephews and nieces; and devoted friends and caregivers, Laura, Stacy, Kathy, and Riverside Hospice.


Visitation will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at 10am, at Beale Memorial Baptist Church, 19622 Tidewater Trail, Tappahannock, VA 22560, with service immediately following at 11am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make donations to Beale Memorial Baptist Church, PO Box 816, Tappahannock, VA 22560.

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