World War II veteran in Wimberley celebrates 100th birthday, looks back on his life

UPDATE 10/24/22: FOX 7 Austin has learned from family that Bill Cordes passed away Friday, Oct. 21. He will be laid to rest with full military honors this week in his hometown of Bay City, Texas.

The original story on Cordes, published on 9/6/22, is below.


Inside the Alexis Pointe Senior Living home in Wimberley Tuesday afternoon, resident Bill Cordes was the man of the hour. 

"I never thought I’d make it," said Cordes. "I feel good really." 

Cordes turned 100-years-old on Tuesday. 

While his hearing has weakened in his older years, his memory has stood the test of time. Cordes is still able to talk about his time serving overseas during World War II in extensive detail.

Joining the Army when he was 20 years old, Cordes trained at Camp Gruber in Oklahoma and eventually ended up in Italy. 

Some of the worst he saw was at Mount Battaglia. His actions there even earned him a bronze star.

"We lost a lot of people there," said Cordes. "I always felt like it was unfair that I got all through this and didn’t even get a scratch." 

Wimberley resident Bill Cordes turned 100 years old on Tuesday. During a special celebration, he looked back on his life in the military.

More special recognition came on Tuesday with the help of Congressman Chip Roy's office. Cordes was presented with an American flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 22 in honor of his upcoming birthday and his service. 

Outside his military service, Cordes is a father of two and was married for 72 years to his wife, Vera, until her recent death. They met while he was at Camp Gruber, and he asked her to wait until he got back from the Army to marry. She waited two years, and they got married 10 days after he returned from being overseas.

On Monday, family members from around Texas and from out-of-state came to Wimberley to be with Cordes for a private celebration. 

"It’s good we still got him," said son Larry Cordes. "It’s a blessing to keep your dad, your parents, as long as you can."

And Cordes just might have some more years in him. 

"Somebody said the other day, ‘Go for one more,’" said Cordes. "I said, ‘That ain’t no effort, I’ll go for 10!’"