Willie Allen Carroll was born August 29, 1952 in Pine Bluff Arkansas to Annie Mae Briggs Carroll and Lawyer Bradley. Willie was the seventh of thirteen siblings born to Annie Mae, and fourth of six siblings born to Lawyer. He was raised in a Christian home and at the age of nine years old he accepted the gift of salvation. As a demonstration of his belief in Christ Jesus, he was baptized at Centennial Baptist Church, the late Reverend S.B. Scott, Pastor.
Willie attended Southeast High School in Pine bluff. After graduating high school in 1970, he attended the University of Arkansas at Pine bluff (formerly known as AM&M College). After a semester at UAPB Willie made the decision to join the military. In 1972, Willie enlisted into the United States Airforce. He spent four years in the Air Force earning the rank of Sergeant. As an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist, he serviced B-52 fighter planes during his tour of duty in Thailand during the Vietnam war.
After returning stateside, he was stationed at Castle Air Force Base in Merced, California. While there, he started a small mobile DJ business. His business caught the attention of a radio DJ who offered him an opportunity to work at the local radio station, KLBS Los Banos. Every other Sunday Willie programmed and hosted a four hour R&B radio show. He continued to have his mobile DJ business and work at the radio station until his honorable discharge from the Air Force In March 1975.
Shortly after leaving the military, Willie relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where his love of music, his tenacity, and his larger-than-life personality helped turn him into one of the most popular mobile DJ's in the Bay Area. This success would also become the financial support he would need to go back to school. In February 1976, Willie enrolled at Skyline Junior College in San Bruno, California. He was committed to finishing school even though he had to work several jobs: Tutoring English as a second language, part time work at Brisbane Tool Warehouse, along with his mobile DJ business to support himself. In November 1977, he met the love of his life Carolyn Ross and they began dating while he continued to work toward his graduation.
In January 1978, he received his Associates Degree in Business Administration. He continued his education transferring to the School of Business at San Francisco State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business in May, 1979. Willie was so very proud of being the first of his Mother's children to earn a Bachelor's Degree
After college, Willie started his music career in record promotions with the late Jimmy Bee (Jimmy Bee Productions). While working and learning about the business at Jimmy Bee productions as his personal assistant, Willie worked on Northern California promotional tours for such artists as, Michael Henderson, Patrice Rushen, Johnnie "Guitar" Watson, Bobby Womack, The Jones Girls, and many more. His next opportunity and maybe most important of his career came when he met and interviewed with Bill Perasso, (Sales Manager for Warner/Elektra/Atlantic San Francisco Office). Mr. Perasso hired Willie to be the Promotion Manager representing Elektra and Atlantic R&B recording artists at Northern California radio stations, night clubs, and retail stores. He and Carolyn also continued to date during this time and after 10 years they both said "I Do" and were married on August 22, 1987.
After almost five years at Elektra and a brief time away from the music business, Willie joined the promotion staff at MCA Records and became the Northern California Promotion Manager for their Black Music Division. While at MCA, he participated in the success of many major artists including New Edition, Mary J. Blige, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and Bobby Brown among many others. During his tenure, Willie was promoted to National Director of Album Promotions, which was the position he held until he left MCA records in June, 1997
After just over two years recuperating from some major health concerns, he joined the United States Postal Service's management training program where he learned the mail industry and became a postal delivery supervisor. There he remained until his retirement in 2005.
While he enjoyed his professional career and had many notable successes, Willie's true love and deepest commitment was his family. He was a dedicated husband of 36 years, a proud father who loved his children unconditionally, and was lovingly known as "Super Pawpaw to his grandchildren. Willie was a loving and strong family leader who selflessly provided for his family and made sure that there were plenty of memorable experiences. His faith in God was always his guiding force
Willie never met a person he wouldn't feed. Whether he bought you a hot meal or toted you a plate across the country, food was definitely his expression of love. He knew his way around the kitchen and enjoyed cooking. From his smoked chickens and cornish hens to his garlic crab and peach cobbler, if Willie was bringing the food you could always expect a culinary treat. He lived his life unapologetically with a passion and purpose and will be greatly missed.
Willie was preceded in death by his mother Annie Mae Carroll, his father Lawyer Bradley, his siblings, Tommy Lee Pittman, John Anthony Carroll, Jerome Carroll, Barbara Jean Smith, Alvie Dean Carroll, Aloia Eloise Ricks, Curtis Bradley, Delores Bradley, and his grandson Roderick O'Brian Shelby II.
He leaves to cherish his memory his wife Carolyn Carroll, four children; sons Roderick O. Shelby Sr. (LaSonya) and DeAndre Larone Carroll., two daughters, Arisha Renae Willams and Shayna Alyse Carroll, one bonus daughter Kari Davis, and three bonus sons, Will Howard, Morris Clardie Jr., and Gregory Williams. His siblings Mildred Carroll Sorrels, Shirley Ann Pullings, Samuel Earl Carroll (Kathleen), Joseph Barry Carroll, Joyce Marie Carroll, Linda Diane Carroll, Ruby Bradley Cain (Osmond), Delores Bradley, Curtis Bradley, Marilyn Compton, Erica Wilson, and Adrienne Bradley. His aunt Linnie Belle Briggs-Gordon, very special sister-in-Law, Mary Carroll, seven grandchildren, five great- grandchildren, and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
First gift of life, August 29,1952, Eternal gift of life, August 21, 2023.