Willie Hopkins: in memoriam

Willie, as he was affectionately known by all, was the custodial leader at the municipal offices for the past ten years. Whenever you chanced to cross paths with Willie, he would always give you a big smile and say, “It’s a pleasure to see you.”

It was a pleasure to see him, too. Willie L. Hopkins began employment with the City of Takoma Park on October 4, 1999 as a laborer assigned to the park and building maintenance division and was promoted to the leader’s position less than two years later.

He took pride in his work and set high standards.  You could see your reflection on the floors in the municipal building.  They were always spotless, as was everything else.

You never had to ask him to do anything because he was always the first to say, “What do you need?”

He was consistently recognized for his outstanding performance in making repairs to the city offices and to the library roof.

Willie was always willing to lend a helping hand.  He volunteered to participate in the City’s charity project, “Rebuilding Together,” and he contributed a great deal of time and effort in helping to renovate and repair homes of friends and acquaintances in Takoma Park.

A lifetime fan of the Dallas Cowboys, he engaged in good-natured ribbing with all the Redskin fans he worked with, and he socialized with many of his fellow employees outside of work.

He was a steadfast presence.  You could count on him to be there every day.  Every year he received an award for unused sick leave until he was diagnosed with lung cancer this past January.

Willie died on September 14, but he displayed courage, bravery, and endurance beyond measure during his illness.  Even in his greatest pain, and worsening condition, he never complained.  On his sick bed his concern was for someone else.  He would ask, “How are you feeling?”

He will be missed.

This tribute was written by Detective/Corporal Paula Gaskin with assistance from other of Willie’s co-workers.