Town Square

Services for Willie Branch tonight and tomorrow

Original post made on Nov 8, 2007

A public viewing for popular former Co-op checker Willie Branch, who died Nov. 6, will be held this evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jones Mortuary, 660 Donohoe St., East Palo Alto. Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. at Roselawn Cemetery, 1240 N. Livermore Ave., Livermore.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 12, 2007, 9:56 AM


Like this comment
Posted by Norm
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2007 at 1:08 pm

He will be missed.
Sympathy goes out to his family and other friends.
Best I can do at the moment.

Like this comment
Posted by trudy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2007 at 2:35 pm

A truly nice man, my sympathy to his family and friends.

Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2007 at 5:57 pm

So very sad. I shopped at Co-op for many years, frequently lifted from a not-so-great mood by that broad smile and friendly manner of Willie Branch. He will be truly missed.

Like this comment
Posted by Mary Carlstead
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Willie was so special. He just lit up the Co-op with his smile. He shared great recipes, stories,spirit, and just -being-Willie. Those who knew him are blessed. Those who didn't, missed a great person. God Bless You, Willie. Rest in Peace.

Like this comment
Posted by Antonià R. Branch
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:06 am

Thank you to everyone for showing your love and support for my father and family. During this hard time we need all the support that we can get.

I love you daddy. You will be in my heart always and forever.


Like this comment
Posted by Sanford Forte
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:22 am

He was a great man. Regardless of his situation, he was always there for people. Would that more could have known him.

RIP, Willie.

Like this comment
Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:31 am

I recall when I’d shop at the Co-Op in Midtown, Willie had a smile, was positive and I always walked away feeling good after our conversations at the cash register.

As I recall, the employees at Co-Op were applying and getting hired at other supermarkets after they learned of the impending closer.

Willie, being loyal as he is, stayed till the end, and, probably as a result, was out of work and soon on the streets.

I was so shocked to see him one day in front of Whole Foods seeking help in the form of food and contributions. But I was happy that he got the help he needed and was able to get himself better situated.

Seeing him on the street for that time taught me that it could very well have been (and still can) be me on the street, should I lose my job.

Willie is a fantastic spirit and a great inspiration!


Like this comment
Posted by Terri Lobdell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 9, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Willie was one of a kind--a very very special man. He always brought a song to his work, and a smile for every customer. He had a real gift for bringing a little light into everyone's life. Not only that, but I never saw anyone's fingers fly faster at the checkout stand. He was so quick and good at his job, the very soul of the Coop. Even in homelessness and later disability, he was determined to hold his head high and continue to smile given half the chance. He had a truly unforgettable presence. We will miss you Willie!

Like this comment
Posted by dalisa ball
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:16 pm

hey uncle willie b branch..
man im so hurt that you no longer apart of this world anymore. or should i say im so hurt that you are not physically here any more. the day i learned of you death i was hurt,said,upset,angry,mad, all those horriable things. uncle, i still dont believe that you are gone. i feel so close yet so far away from you, regardless of reality your always gonna be here with me and thats because your in my heart. you are a part of me. its like this is a dream and im scared to wake up to reality. uncle willie i love and miss you.continue to be a shinning star in my night and day. ive been spending time with my cousins, my grandma,my mom, and all of our family. were trying to stay strong. i love you uncle. and thanks to all of you who have commented and also helped out and everything with all of this that is going on. we love you all. god bless

RIP uncle willie

Like this comment
Posted by Patsy Dodd
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:53 pm

You called to say you wouldn't make our Halloween Party this year. I promised to come visit soon. I'm so glad I got to hear your laugh during that call one more time. I had no idea it would be the last time. Your joyful whistling will always be in my head. I always knew that you were working when I'd hear the whistling while shopping at Co-op. You always had a big smile for everyone. I am so sorry you are gone. You will be missed.
Patsy Dodd
Struggle Mt.

Like this comment
Posted by Elize Winby Wall
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2007 at 11:26 am

Willie, You were a shining star to me once upon a time. We parted ways but not the tender feelings we shared. You are still a shining star... now I will see you in the night sky as you light up the face of heaven. Your Girl

Willie's Mother, Evelyn Garth, has arranged for a Memorial Service to be held Monday Nov 12th 6-8pm at Jones Funeral Home in East Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by Terri Lobdell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2007 at 4:23 pm

Willie's family has asked me to let people know about services for Willie. Friends of Willie's are welcome to join to attend.
There will be a viewing on Monday evening, Nov 12th, from 6-8 pm at Jones Mortuary in East Palo Alto. Jones is located at 660 Donohoe Street in East Palo Alto. (Take the University Avenue exit off 101, head for EPA. Stay straight to go onto Capitol Avenue. Take first right at light onto Donohoe. Drive one block, and Jones will be on the right.)
Services will be held for Willie on Tuesday, Nov 13th, at 1:00 at Roselawn Cementary in Livermore, located at 1240 N. Livermore Ave. A procession will be leaving from Jones Mortuary at 11:45 to travel together with Willie's body to Livermore. Directions from Jones to Roselawn (courtesty of Mapquest)are as follows:

1: Start out going WEST on DONOHOE ST toward CAPITOL AVE. 0.1 miles
2: Merge onto US-101 N via the ramp on the LEFT toward SAN FRANCISCO. 0.6 miles
3: Merge onto WILLOW RD / CA-114 toward CA-84 E / FREMONT. 1.0 miles
4: Turn RIGHT onto CA-84 E. 8.2 miles
5: Stay STRAIGHT to go onto DECOTO RD. 0.2 miles
6: Merge onto I-880 N toward OAKLAND. 10.1 miles
7: Merge onto I-238 S toward I-580 / CASTRO VALLEY / STOCKTON. 2.7 miles
8: I-238 S becomes I-580 E. 17.5 miles
9: Take the N LIVERMORE AVE exit toward DWNTN LIVERMORE. 0.2 miles
10: Take the ramp toward CENTRAL LIVERMORE. <0.1 miles
11: Merge onto N LIVERMORE AVE. 0.2 miles
12: End at 1240 N Livermore Ave

Total Est. Time: 44 minutes Total Est. Distance: 41.40 miles

Like this comment
Posted by The Branch sister's
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2007 at 11:02 am

All, please be advised that if you wish to do so you have the option to meet with the family at Jones Mortuary at 11:45 Tuesday morning for the procession to Roselawn Cemetary. And again, I would like to thank all of my fathers friends and my family for the arrangements that we all have made to ensure my father has the proper burial that he deserves. It's been a trying time, but the Lord pulled us through.

The Branch sister's & family.

Like this comment
Posted by Jo Ann Marcus
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 14, 2007 at 7:33 pm

I forget just when and how I met Willie.
I too, remember him, outside Whole Foods a few times and I drove around for days until I found him and was thrilled to be part of the community drive to help this special person.
Willie dropped into my life again when I worked for State Farm. and it was always a pleasure to see Willie. He always had a smile He gave wonderful heartfelt hugs and it was so special for me when he stopped by our office and it was always so wonderful when he stopped by out Midtown office.
He was a special man and I am a better persoon for having known him. I wept upon hearing of his passing upon hearing of his passing

Like this comment
Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 14, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Rest in peace Willie. You brought a smile to the faces of those around you, inspired generosity and warmth, spread cooperation and sympathy, and sparked a wave of light that will never dim. May the Universe caress your spirit; May the Artists sing of your influence; May the Earth protect your legacy; and May the Teachers share your story.

You will always be missed, but never forgotten.

Like this comment
Posted by Heidi Lerner
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 15, 2007 at 7:41 am

I just heard the news about Willie last night and I cried. I don't remember when I first was blessed with his beautiful smile and huge heart and soul, but I started going to Palo Alto Coops in 1982 and he was certainly there. And I just kept being warmed by his presence right up until the last days of the Midtown Co-op.
Willie touched the lives of so many people in only the best and positive ways. The world is a better place because he was in it.
My deepest sympathies to all his family and friends. He will always be remembered with love and appreciation.

Like this comment
Posted by Israel and Evelyn Garth
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

From the Parents of Willie Branch

It was such a comfort to have the love and support of friends and family during this difficult time. Recent events have reaffirmed for us how important friends and family are in our lives. It's comforting to know that there are so many who knew and loved our son. He was always such a happy-go-lucky guy and to know him was to love him.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Terri Lobdell, Bill Johnson, Elize, Kamal, Management and friends at the Barker Hotel, Sue Dremann and all the many friends we could not begin to name.

Thank you for your love, support and kindnesses.

To My Grandchildren

As you mourn the lost of your father, I want you to know that your grandpa and I are here for you. If you need someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on or you want to know more about the life of your father, please do not hesitate to call.

Your father loved each of you and I know that he will miss you all. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy will live through each one of you. The loss that you are experiencing may never go away, but we pray that God will ease the pain.

Israel and Evelyn Garth

Like this comment
Posted by Ayanna Powell
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 25, 2007 at 6:55 pm

It has been almost two weeks and I have not come to the realization that you are gone. I'm grateful for the relationship that we established and it is the only thing that allows me to go own. I know that you are no longer in pain and I'm grateful to God for that. Know that I love you and I always will. You are my hero!!! I even think that I inherited your since of being proud. You were a pheonimal man and you have always taken care of your children even until death and we appreciate you for that. We will always love you, forever. I'll see you and again when we can laugh and smile in the kingdom. Until then, rest in peace. I Love you daddy.
Your loving daughter,
Ayanna Powell and Family,

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Shearer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm

It's a snowy day here today, a little west of Denver, Colorado. I was feeling nostalgic and was doing some google searches about my old stomping grounds in Palo Alto. I came across Matt Bowling's Palo Alto History Project website and saw a photo of my old neighbor and friend Willie Branch. We parted ways with Willie when we moved to Colorado in 1997. I was so shocked and saddened to read that he was homeless and having trouble after the Co-op closed, and then I as I searched for more info about Willie, I found the news that he had passed in 2007. My heart sunk. We shared many good times. We would have little friendly competitions to see who could make the best rack of ribs. He always won, but I didn't care, we enjoyed the ribs, the company and the laughs through it all. When my son was turning 6, Willie asked him what he wanted for his birthday, so Willie would know what to get for him. My son told Willie he wanted some of Willie's famous ribs for his birthday party. Willie brought 2 of the best racks of ribs we ever had. Willie always told me his dream for retirement was to have some kind of mobile BBQ rig, and he'd drive up and down the coast, picking a different place to park each day and sell his fantastic ribs to people. This would have given him the chance to spread his infectious smile and build his fan club even bigger. I hope he's in a better place, and I can see all of the people in heaven smiling, enjoying Willie's charms and the best ribs in heaven.

Miss you Willie, sorry I didn't search for you a few years earlier.

Bill Shearer