Community Life

Willie Koonce: "A Really Nice Guy"

Actor John Amos (seated), co-worker Jimmy Gamble, Whitney Houston Academy Principal Henry Hamilton and Robert Lee Credits: Katherine Willis
Picture collage of Willie Koonce Credits: Ms. Catherine Willis
Credits: Catherine Willis

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Seldom does any one individual receive the number of accolades from young and old, male and female alike, matching the recently deceased barber, Willie Koonce. According to a number of interviewees, Mr. Koonce was more than an exceptional barber; he was a “really nice guy”, explains Councilman William Holt.

Former 4th Ward Councilman Holt spoke in glowing terms about the life and legacy of Willie Koonce. He reminisced about their early days in East Orange and how Mr. Koonce reached out and mentored several neighborhood youths in the science of barbering, which, according to the councilman, he learned while in the Air Force.

His funeral service brought out what many consider, ‘East Orange royalty’. Chief among the attendees was veteran actor John Amos of the television hit, Good Times and movie blockbuster, Coming to America.

Sign Up for E-News

In a statement from former Board of Taxation Commissioner and Director of Senior Services, Catherine Willis, she replies, “Some of East Orange finest reminisced about the good old days in EO as they spoke about their friend, mentor, father, father figure, big brother, uncle ,parent and entrepreneur. Willie Koonce touched the lives of many and he shall remain in the hearts of all those whom touched. Thank you John Amos for the eulogy, thank you Rev. Dr. Erica Crawford for the word. Willie was a fisherman and Dr. Crawford reminded us of the word, (Matthew 4:19-20) And He said them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Mr. Koonce was proprietor of Modern Era Barbers on the corner of Clifford and Halsted for more than 50 years.

Willie Koonce was brother of Mary Patterson former 5th Ward Councilwoman. Mary recently made her transition on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

Free Diabetes Self-Management Workshop Series Offered in East Orange

December 6, 2017

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), is partnering with Prospect Park Apartments to provide free diabetes workshops as part of the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program. The EDC program is a national initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The program offers free ...

The YES Project Receives Grant to Help Runaway and Homeless Youths in Essex County, NJ

December 6, 2017

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Isaiah House's Youths Empowered to Succeed (YES) project was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—BASIC Centers grant, to help reduce the number of homeless youths surviving on the streets in Essex County, and to help increase the number of runaway and homeless youths receiving much-needed services to help them reunite with their families; and/or ...

Essex County Passes Resolution Proposed by Freeholder Toro of Bloomfield To Encourage Vendors To Hire Locally

December 12, 2017

NEWARK, NJ – During an Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders Board meeting at Maplewood Town Hall  the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a Resolution “Establishing The County Of Essex Aspirational Goal Initiative To Increase The Participation Of A Diverse And Qualified Essex County Workforce In County Projects.”

Amid new reports from the New York ...

Nine Ways to Empower Your Employees or Team Members to Discover and Develop Their Strengths and Make Confident Decisions

Maybe you’ve seen them; the one employee who is doing extremely well in their job. Are they ready to take on more responsibility? Perhaps they are. Or maybe they are very close but need help discovering and developing their strengths so they become more confident. The latter is where you come in as the employer, manager or team leader.

You will most likely be the one to encourage them to ...

Mayor's Message - December 2017

December 10, 2017

Small businesses are the cornerstone of our community, and when we shop and dine small in East Orange, we help to ensure that $68 out of every $100 spent remains in our local economy and we support the businesses that create two out of every three new jobs in our workforce each year.

 

East Orange is bustling with old and new businesses that represent the diversity of our great ...