View Full Version : Memorial article for Willie Jopling

Scott Lee
01-01-2010, 01:42 AM
I was approached by Billiards Digest to write a memorial article about my friend Willie Jopling, to be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine. I thought I would share it here, with everyone on the CCB, as Bill touched the lives of so many poolplayers.

Willie Jopling…A Man for All Seasons

Willie Jopling was just an ordinary man, but he touched the lives of literally thousands of people, over the course of his life. Born January 20, 1926, Bill Marshall was profoundly influenced by the sport of pocket billiards over the time span of nearly 7 decades. Although he had seen the game played by adults, when he was a child in Virginia, he didn’t play the game himself until he was nearly an adult. Once bitten, he devoured information, watched “professional” players, whether they were champion tournament players, or scallywag hustlers, and learned everything he could, from anyone who would show him anything (not many would show much back in those days).

Bill was in the advertising business for many decades, and had a real penchant for creating beautiful and accurate drawings of hundreds of pool shots. He was particularly taken with trick shots, and over his lifetime created many dozens of shots, as well as learning the time-worn classics that have been around for a century or more. He used to tell me that he would sometimes awaken in the middle of the night, after dreaming up a new shot, and climb out of bed to scribble it down on a scrap of paper, so he wouldn’t forget it before he got a chance to get on the green felt and “try it out”! He held “court” at the Squash Club, in Lynchburg…a private doctor’s office, where Bill had a 9’ table installed, with his own key, to come and go as he pleased, for more than 30 years. He and I spent many an hour down there, teaching me the subtle nuances of trick shots…especially how to adjust them for particular table conditions. He created a book of trick shots, and a videotape with over 200 shots, many of which are found nowhere else.

Bill was a master, and a great influence on me, both as a friend, a mentor, and a true gentleman. In the many times I was fortunate enough to spend time with him, around the country at various pool events, Bill had a smile, a handshake, and a story for everyone he met. He was not only loved, but eminently respected by poolplayers everywhere. He was particularly helpful to people like Dr. Cue/Tom Rossman, when Tom worked diligently to create a professional avenue for up and coming trick shot artists. Artistic Pool owes a great debt of gratitude to Willie Jopling.

Bill’s favorite game was always One-Pocket, and he achieved a very respectable skill level, playing it every chance he got, for most of his adult life. Bill created a set of instructional videos on one-pocket that have been very favorably reviewed by many other highly skilled players of that game. He and I used to have 1-pocket marathons, down in Squash Club, often dozens of games, one after another, lasting for hours. Willie could stand at the table for 10 hours, even into his late 70’s. One session together lasted nearly two full days, and was partly videotaped by me. That tape was lucky enough to capture an 8 & out run, off the break by me, and a subsequent 8 & out run, off the break by Bill, in the following game. I can tell you that that is a rarity. Bill put that portion of the tape on his one-pocket video.

At his funeral service, there were over 50 people in attendance, including some well-known poolplayers. There could have easily been 500 or more, had there been time for people to get there. I will miss my friend Bill Marshall, every day for the rest of my life. He was truly one-of-a-kind!

Scott Lee
The Traveling College of Billiard Knowledge

01-02-2010, 07:58 AM
Great article Scott. Thanks for sharing it here on the board.


Scott Lee
01-04-2010, 12:09 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: eg8r</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Great article Scott. Thanks for sharing it here on the board.

eg8r </div></div>

Thanks eg8r...Bill was the best!

Scott Lee