‘Willie the Can Man’ passes away

‘The pride of East Lansing’ has died after battling cancer

Wilson Brown, aka “Willie the Can Man,” passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 56.

Willie was a familiar sight in East Lansing, always pushing around a shopping cart full of bottles and cans. He was an outgoing, opinionated man who always knew the talk of the town, and was a welcome guest at house parties and events in East Lansing.

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In a Facebook group called “Willie the Can Man’s Fan Club,” members recall him changing a flat tire, along with other acts of kindness. Willie also helped clean up houses after parties for just a few pop cans. He was definitely a generous man despite his difficulties in life.

In a 2007 interview with the Lansing State Journal, his ex-wife Sheleatha Davis-Brown said his past included an injury on the job while working with heavy machinery, an alcohol addiction, and a divorce.

Davis-Brown said Willie was originally from Arkansas, but moved to Michigan to work in construction.

“He would give his last to anybody. He was just that type of person,” she said. “He loved kids. He just enjoyed life to the fullest.”

On Wednesday, December 28, a visitation will be held at at 11am followed by a funeral at 1pm. Both will be at the New Life Community Church of God in Christ in Lansing, Michigan.

GoFundMe campaign has also been started in order to help Willie’s family with funeral expenses.

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Michigan State death east lansing local celebrity Michigan State MSU spartans willie the can man wilson brown