Billy Hopper passed away on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. He was a proud native of Waynesboro, Burke County, Georgia. He was born on Oct. 14, 1936 and was the only child of C.W. Hopper, Sr. and Mamie Harrell Hopper.
Mr. Hopper graduated from Waynesboro High School in 1954 and Davidson College in 1958. He married the true love of his life, Marianne Bevan, on June 17, 1958. Following the fulfillment of his military reserve obligations at the Pentagon, Billy returned to Burke County where he served as Waynesboro City Manager for eight years followed by 28 years as the Burke County Administrator. His vocational pursuits were always guided by his love of Burke County and its people.
Billy Hopper will be remembered for many reasons. He was a humble, loyal, temperate, and consistent man. He believed in being humble in success and gracious in failings. He lived virtually his entire life in one community with one spouse because he had extraordinary loyalty and love towards both. He was slow to anger, but had a competitive drive. His consistency was predictable. On Sunday mornings for 80 plus years, he was going to be at church.
He had a passion for the woods, fields, and waterways of his native area. If you have not shot doves with him, it was because you never invited him. He had very few vices, but he was an excellent wing shot and was proficient at concealing the number of birds in his game bag. His health prevented him from hunting in his later years so the statute of limitations has passed.
Billy had a fondness for athletics and participated as a player and a coach. He was a proud Waynesboro Purple Hurricane. He understood the lessons to be learned by youth from athletic participation and he coached two generations of little league baseball players. He was an excellent tennis player and enjoyed tennis until his final retirement following a muscle tear after being coaxed out of retirement by his daughter. He would warm up with a Pall Mall cigarette in his mouth while saying that it kept the gnats away. He quit this other vice (Pall Malls) when his first grandchild was born.
He was an avid follower of the Atlanta Braves, the Georgia Bulldogs, and Davidson Wildcat basketball. If the Braves played late on the West Coast, his phone answer would be “Don’t tell me about last night’s Braves’ game” instead of “Hello.” With the Braves winning its first World Series in 26 years and Georgia football winning its first National Championship in 41 years, he went out on top.
Billy was a man of great faith. He attended First Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro for his whole life. He served the church in every conceivable capacity and served as ruling elder for more than half his life. Until recently, you knew where to find him on Sunday morning. While his death is difficult, his family knows where he now resides eternally. He is now reunited with deceased family and friends. One day, his loved ones will see him again. Thanks be to God!
Billy is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marianne Bevan Hopper. He is also survived by three children and their spouses: Claude William “Bill” Hopper, III (Donna); Nell Hopper Dixon (Herbie); and John Frederick “Rick” Hopper (Lisa). In addition to his children, he is survived by nine grandchildren: Bevan Hopper, McGee Hopper Berding (Sam), Whitney Dixon Zeagler (Worth), Will Dixon (Brooke), Abby Scott, Braxton Hopper, Carson Hopper, Avery Chance, and Emme Chance. He is further survived by his brother-in-law, Frank Bevan (Ann), and numerous cousins.
The family will receive friends and family at the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro at 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. A celebration of life will follow at 3 p.m. at Burke Memorial Gardens. The Reverends Tre Smith and Jim Knight will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The First Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro, 810 Myrick Street, Waynesboro, GA 30830 or a charity of your choice.
Burke Memorial Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.