The passing on Dec. 11 of William B. Hopkins Sr. has produced a substantial profile and an admiring editorial in the Roanoke Times. He was a member of the Washington and Lee Classes of 1942 and 1944 Law.
As a respected and successful member of Virginia’s General Assembly from 1960 to 1980, Bill enriched both the state and his home of Roanoke. A Democratic member of the Virginia Senate, he was that body’s majority leader from 1972 to 1976. He was a key factor in the success of Roanoke’s Center in the Square and the Science Museum of Western Virginia.
“The benefits of his labors . . . still are felt in the greater efficiency of state government, and greater opportunities for children in Southwest Virginia to expand their horizons,” opined the newspaper.
The president of the Martin, Hopkins & Lemon law firm, Bill belonged to the generation of W&L alumni whose education here was compressed due to World War II. After receiving a B.A., he left his law studies at W&L in 1942 and became a Marine, serving in the South Pacific. During the Korean War he also saw combat, at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He wrote two books about his wartime experiences.
Two members of his family also attended W&L: his son William B. Hopkins Jr., Class of 1976, and his granddaughter Virginia S. Hopkins, Class of 2008.