Willie Sanchez

willie sanchez

October 28, 1942 ~ November 3, 2023

Born in: Visalia, CA
Resided in: Greenville, IL


William L. ‘Willie’ Sanchez

Willie Sanchez, 81, of Greenville, passed away on November 3, 2023, with his wife Virginia and their eldest son, Nathan, by his side.

Willie was born on October 28, 1942, in Visalia, CA, the son of William and Ramona (Hook) Sanchez.

Willie was a member of the Marine Core, Army National Guard, and Military Army Reserves. Willie’s passions were many. He loved to surf, scuba dive, run marathons, snow ski, riding his Harley ‘fat boy,’ parachuting and was a Parachute Jumpmaster. He was also active in Pop Warner football, as a board member, in California.

While visiting his son Nathan in Greenville, he fell in love with this town and when talking about his visit he would say, “my arm hurts from waving back to all the people who waved at me.”  Willie started looking at the houses and called Virginia to tell her he found a home for them. They relocated to Greenville in May 2016 with six of their children. Willie loved to play his drums and soon found a place to play at the First Baptist Church in Greenville. He loved to watch his sons’ and grandsons’ games and could be found at many of their sporting events cheering them on. At the age of 80, he decided to coach the Junior Comet’s football team where he was referred to as “Pops” by his players.

Willie was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter, Myka Sanchez, and a sister, Debra Pruner.

Surviving Willie are his wife of 44 years, Virginia; his sons, Nathan (Nicole) Sanchez, Dominic Sanchez, Eric Sanchez, Joseph Sanchez, Michael Sanchez; his daughters, Maggie (DeVan) Sanchez, Nikki (Cole) Selman, Jenna Sanchez; his grandchildren Dominic Sanchez Jr., Jayden Sanchez, Mekenna (Vicky) Sanchez, Marcus, Mathan, Maddox, Maveryk and Magwyer Sanchez, Zack (Jen) Wilbur, Cody & Avery Wilbur, and Malikai Selman; as well as his sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews.

Funeral Mass: 10:00 am., Wednesday, November 22, 2023, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 512 S. Prairie St., Greenville, IL 62246, with Father Jeffery Stone, officiating.

Burial: will follow the funeral mass at St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery, Greenville, IL 62246.

Reception: will follow the burial at St. Lawrence Catholic Church Hall, 512 S. Prairie St., Greenville.

Memorial contributions in memory of Willie can be made to: Comets Sports Boosters, c/o Joe Alstat, Greenville High School, 1000 E. Rte. 140, Greenville, IL 62246.

The family has entrusted Assalley-Young Funeral Home in Greenville with the ceremonies.

Please visit www.assalleyfuneralhomes.com to share memories or offer condolences to the family.


Funeral Mass: November 22, 2023 10:00 am - 11:00 am

St. Lawrence Catholic Church
512 S. Prairie Street
Greenville, IL 62246

Inurnment: November 22, 2023 11:00 am

St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery (Greenville)


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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Willie Sanchez 's name.

Greenville Sports Boosters

c/o Joe Alstat, Greenville High School, 1000 E. Rte 140




Memories Timeline


  1. It was such a joy to meet Willie and his family. He played drums for our Praise Team at First Baptist Church and became a good friend. His passion for his family and especially his grandchildren was unmatched. One of the last times he and I visited was at a Comets football game and he told me how he was now coaching. Rest in peace, Willie. I am thankful God crossed our paths at First Baptist. I will never forget how everyone loved you and your drum playing when our Praise Team sang at VCC twice. I pray comfort and strength for your family as they grieve your loss. Betty Bays

  2. Light a CandleI’m going to deeply cherish the memories I have of meeting Willie, and getting to know him late in his life, forever. He came already with so many past lives, lived interests, and 1001 stories. I vividly remember tearing up, sides aching from laughing at the ones he would rattle off. Through meeting him, I’ve been blessed to better know and relate to Maggie and his other children, which has profoundly impacted our lives for the better. I’ll always remember the cigar smoking, blues loving, movie watching Browns fan Willie Sanchez.🧡

    With love,
    DeVan Whitaker

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