Guillermo “Willie” Rodriguez
February 18, 1942 – January 3, 2019
Guillermo “Willie” Rodriguez passed away on Thursday, January 3, 2019. Willie was born on February 18, 1942, in the City of Brawley, California, to Juan and Manuela Rodriguez. He was the youngest of 11 children, survived by siblings Carlos Rodriguez, Raymond Rodriguez, Mary Havens, Lola Corrales, and Esther Ortiz. He was welcomed into heaven by siblings Gilbert Rodriguez, Mike Rodriguez, John Rodriguez, Henry Rodriguez, and Toni Escalera. Willie was an uncle to several nieces and nephews who all loved him dearly.
He is survived by his wife Elsa Rodriguez, married in 1999. Willie is also survived by daughter Kathy Rodriguez and husband Robert Rodriguez of Eastvale, CA and step-daughter, Carol Sanchez of Riverside, CA. He loved his five grandchildren: Daniel Ruiz, Melinda Ruiz, Cynthia Ruiz, Richard Aguilar and wife Priscilla Aguilar, and Steven Aguilar and wife Rebecca Aguilar. They all called him Papawillie. He was also the proud great-papawillie to five great grandbabies, Cameron Aguilar, Audrina Aguilar, Jacob Wolf, Ayden Aguilar, and soon to be born, Lucy Aguilar.
Willie attended Hildago Elementary, Barbara Worth Intermediate, and graduated from Brawley Union High School as part of the Class of 1960.
Willie began his working career managing the Eureka Theater in Brawley and was known to be the “friendly cashier.” Shortly after, he enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 18 in March of 1960 and was honorably discharged at the rank of SP4. After the Army, his family moved to San Jose where he started a new career as a Tool and Die Maker. In 1972, he moved to Santa Ana, had a career with a small company, and then started working for ITT Jabsco in Costa Mesa for the next 25 plus years where he retired in 1999. During this time, Willie lived in Mission Viejo and finally retired in San Marcos.
As we know, Willie was a Raiders fan from the inception of the team in 1960 and looked forward to the team’s move to Las Vegas. His hobbies included Wednesday poker games, Thursday golf, monthly breakfasts/lunches with his community friends, and shooting a game of pool. He enjoyed watching kung-fu and western movies.
For everyone who knew Willie, he was very soft spoken, but easily made a lot of friends that all adored him. It brings the family comfort to know that Willie was playing a round of golf and doing what he loved the most in his last moments on Earth. The family is appreciative of the support and love received over the last few weeks. They thank you for joining them as they celebrate his life.
We know Papawillie is going to have the best seat in the house when the Raiders make their move to Las Vegas. We imagine he will be sitting next to Al Davis as they look down upon the Raiders trying to scheme a plan to win their 4th Super Bowl championship title. Win or lose, just as Willie would always say, “next year, we’re going to win.”