Willie G. Brown, 74, passed away at 1:38 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, 2022 at OSF Saint Francis in Peoria surrounded by his loving family. A memorial service to celebrate the love, friendship and service Willie brought to his family, friends, and community, officiated by the Reverend U.D. Williams, will be held at 1:00 p.m. on March 20th at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center immediately followed by a repast for family and friends. Services will be live-streamed for those that are not able to attend in person. To view, please visit the following link: http://www.iwu.edu/memorial
There will be a private interment for the family. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home is assisting with arrangements.
Willie was a devoted father, grandfather, mentor, community servant, and leader. Willie was born on December 8, 1947 to his parents Percy Brown Sr. and Addie Mae Lewis in Fairfield, Alabama and raised in Bloomington, Illinois. He was a graduate and Hall of Fame member of Bloomington High School and Illinois State University. In 2009, after 38 years of service, Willie retired as an Executive Vice President of State Farm. His servant leadership and devotion to the community made him one of Bloomington-Normal’s most prominent leaders. Willie served as an Advisory Board member for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Business at Illinois State University and Board Trustee at Illinois Wesleyan University, in addition to other boards including the State Farm Foundation and the United Way of McLean County. He was a member of the Urban League, the100 Black Men of America of Central Illinois, and a lifetime member of the NAACP. The Roy Wilkins’ Award for Lifetime Achievement from the NAACP, the William Watkins Jr. Founder’s Awards from the African American Hall of Fame Museum in Peoria, and the Community Icon Award from the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. were among the many honors Willie received for service to the community.
Willie is survived by his loving children and spouses: Michael and Melissa Brown, Michele and Dan Honoré, and Marcus Brown; sister and brother: Pearlene Redd-Pitchford and Aaron Johnson; his devoted partner the Honorable Judge Carla Barnes and her children Ryan and Carl Barnes and Hailey Harvey; and seven cherished grandchildren: Kali and CeAyra Brown, Kharé, Kijahn, and Jaryn Honoré, Kyle and Brandon Brown.
Willie was preceded in death by his wife: Gloria Constance Mae Brown; their daughter Micole D’onya Brown; his father and mother Percy Brown Sr., and Addie Mae Brown-Johnson; his brother and sisters: Percy Brown Jr., Gloria Jean Bell, and Cheryl Lynn Henry.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following charities, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Midwest Affiliate; Special Olympics Illinois, and Western Avenue Community Center in Bloomington, IL.