William Cooper Barendse


William Cooper Barendse (“Bill”) died on August 5, 2021, in Kalispell, Mont., where he lived, worked, and climbed the mountains he loved. He was 42. We will remember him for his friendliness to all and his charismatic personality.

courtesy Diane Nicholls

At the time of his death, he was employed clearing trees around the electrical transmission towers that run through the mountains above Kalispell. He loved working in the canopy of the forest, and it was in these forests and mountains that he felt most at peace. 

Born in Connecticut, Bill moved frequently with his family during his childhood. He lived in Vermont, New York State, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah, and eventually settled on Cape Cod. Wherever he lived, Bill explored the natural areas around his homes, camping, hiking, and becoming an accomplished outdoorsman. After moving to the Cape, he hiked many sections of the Appalachian Trail, and climbed in the White Mountains. 

Bill graduated from Barnstable High School, and attended the University of Montana, where he developed his lifelong love for the state, its national parks, and mountains. A graceful and natural athlete, he skied from an early age, and played soccer and baseball in school. He mentored young men in sports, and instilled an appreciation of nature. One of his legacies will be the success of these people. Many will remember his yellow Labrador, Fenway, whom he trained into a great companion, and who accompanied him on outdoor adventures. 

He is survived by his mother Diane Nicholls and stepfather Robert Nicholls (Oak Bluffs); his father, Henry Barendse (Southwest Harbor, Maine); his godmother, Mireille Purslow; his brother, Peter Barendse; his aunts, Barbara Link, Kathy Bourque, and Sandy Marsilius; his uncles, Pierre, J.P., and Rob Barendse; his cousins, Newman (Jennifer) Marsilius, Christian (Jennifer) Marsilius, Andrew (Kelsey) Bourque, Dana Bourque, Alexa Bourque, Mirabelle Purslow, Sarah Julie and Matthew Barendse; his stepbrother, Barton (Carol) Nicholls and stepsister, Kyle (Nate) Cobb; and by his many cherished friends. The family wishes to thank all who have so beautifully described their memories of Bill: his loving nature, his ability to make all occasions special, his capacity for hard work, and perhaps most touching, the lasting positive impact he had on their lives.

A service of thanksgiving for Bill’s life will be held at West Parish Church of Barnstable (2049 Meetinghouse Way, West Barnstable) on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 11 am, with an outdoor reception to follow. We invite all who loved Bill to join us in a celebration of his life. 

The family is partnering with the Appalachian Mountain Club to create a memorial project in Bill’s name. Donations in memory of Bill may be made through the Appalachian Mountain Club: outdoors.org/donate/tribute-gifts, or by mail to Appalachian Mountain Club, 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129. Please include Bill’s name with the donation.


  1. Very sad to hear of your passing. Though we lost touch when you moved away from Vermont as a kid, I am glad we at least reconnected via social media later in life. You were loved by many… even those of us who hadn’t seen you in many years.
    Your Cousin

Comments are closed.