On August 16, 2021, our favorite jokester, William Ellis “Bill” Rooker, died unexpectedly while battling a terminal illness that impacted his frontal and temporal lobes called FTD. Despite living with the disease for the last five years, it never robbed him of his effervescent spirit and need to make others laugh.
Bill is the beloved father of three rambunctious boys. He was always the “fun” parent taking them on camping, rafting, or hiking trips. He was the loudest on the sidelines of their sporting events and obsessed about their academics. Austin, Matthew, and Jackson will sorely miss his silly dad jokes and questionable dance moves.
Bill’s wife, Kathie, held his hand and walked with him through the journey of marriage, fatherhood, and illness. Married for twenty-two years, he loved to tell people he was the handy maid, and she was the handy ma’am. They enjoyed traveling together and coming back to “Sweet Home Alabama.”
As a graduate of West Point, Bill served in the US Army for six years earning the rank of Captain. His passion for engineering brought him to Huntsville in 2003 as a contractor for NASA. If you can imagine the stereotypical engineer, that was Bill. He drove cars until the wheels fell off, saw no need for more than two pairs of shoes, and rotated clothes like the spinning racks at the dry cleaners.
Bill most of all adored his immediate and extended family - his mother, Mona Schuster of Birmingham, his brother, John Umphlett (Carla) of Augusta, Ga, his uncle, George Morgan (Alida), of Winchester, TN and his two other brothers by friendship, COL Mike Benson (Sue) of West Point, NY and COL Chad Jagmin (Carly) of Carlisle, PA and the many cousins, nieces, nephews, and even his in-laws.
It seems entirely too soon to say goodbye to the man that was so memorable. His big, goofy grin will be forever missed. Family and friends are invited to Bill's Celebration of Life on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm at Ditto Landing in the Kingston Pavilion.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (theAFTD.org).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Ellis Rooker, please visit our floral store.
The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration
2700 Horizon Drive, Suite 120, King of Prussia PA 19406