Willie's Story

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Willie Frank Washington, son of Evangelist Sarah E. Johnson and Rev. Roland Johnson was born on March 1, 1940 in Thomasville, Georgia. He patterned his life after a man of great integrity; his grandfather Frank Washington whom everyone Black and White alike absolutely respected. He joined St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church at the early age of twelve years at a Thursday evening revival and continues to love The Lord for the rest of his life. He loved his mother with all his heart and did all he could for her. She would often refer to him as her "little boy." He was her eldest child and only son. Willie was married to Mary Whitehead. They were the proud parents of two wonderful caring and attentive sons, Glen and Jerry. Willie or "Sonny" "Stick" attended grade one through high school at Coolidge High. He attended and graduated from Albany State University (then College) and became proficient in the use of computers, video and audio equipment. He was a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He wasn't a football player, but loved to watch the games and often hollered at the TV when his team(s) would mess up! Sonny loved baseball, basketball and bowling and played each as diligently as he could. He would swing at anything that looked like a baseball and was scouted by a major league team to pitch. He turned down their offer and explained that it was because grandparents didn't want him to play ball on Sunday! Obedience was a part of his makeup. Willie was employed as an electronics technician and communications system coordinator at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for more than forty years until he retired. He joined Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Cocoa, Florida where he served on the trustee board, fed the homeless and hungry, served as videographer and performed various other administrative duties. He loved being in the house of The Lord and loved his church family. He was passionate about helping others. He was a person who was very conscious about his health including what he ate, keeping doctors' appointments and walking with his "walking buddies." Willie was honorably discharged from service in the United States Army where duties took him to Hawaii and other places around the world. After serving in the Army, he came home and taught school at Magnolia High proudly seeing the first class graduate. Though he moved to Florida, Sonny would return to Thomasville to visit his mother, other relatives and to meet his sisters who came from Baltimore, Maryland, for the frequent reunions with him. He would always go off of his eating plan when he met with them and said he put on five pounds each visit. The sibling love between them was unmatched. His sons are married with children and live in Atlanta. Willie would often make the pilgrimage to Atlanta to spend quality time with them and grandchildren. His family was the joy of his life. Though very private and soft spoken, he was a man of integrity and intelligence and when he spoke...you listened. To know him was to love him. He never had a negative word to say about anyone and always gave people the benefit of the doubt. Willie was truly one of a kind. He taught his sons the values that were instilled in him and they are a testament to the saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." They made him proud and he would often speak of them in endearing terms which they truly deserve. Toward the end of his earthly journey, Willie faced some unexpected health challenges and never complained, adopting his mantra: "Whatever my lot, it is well with my soul!" His favorite Bible verse was John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Willie leaves to cherish his memory and celebrate his victorious life in Christ Jesus: sons, Glen (Shandrika) Washington, Jerry (Gloria) Whitehead; mother, Evangelist Sarah E. Johnson; grandchildren, Malia, T'erica, Javar, and Bryant; great-grandchildren, Travon and Davon; siblings: the Rev. Dr. Katie R. Garrett, Ernestine (Moses) Wiggins and Patrice R. Cook; one aunt Esther Bell Washington; one uncle Arthur Lee Washington; a special friend, Arleatha J. Dunbar; and a lifelong friend, Ethel (Cooter Mae) James along with many cousins, relatives and friends. Public viewing will be held Friday June 30, 2017 from 1 to 8 p.m., at Hadley's Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held Saturday July 1, 2017 at 11 a.m., at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 16687 Hwy. 319 N, Thomasville, Ga. The Rev. Andrew Anderson, pastor, and the Rev. Emory Hopkins, officiating. Burial will follow in the St. Paul M.B. Cemetery. Family and friends are asked to assemble at 10 a.m., at 17588 Hwy. 319 N in Thomasville for the processional. Hadley's Funeral Home
Published on June 29, 2017
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