A memorial service will be held Nov. 2 for Willie J. McCoy.
McCoy was a graphic designer and businessman. He died on July 31, 2014. He was 59.
He was born on Nov. 2, 1955 to Hilda Boyer and Willie J. McCoy Sr., who played in the famed Negro Baseball League.
McCoy grew up in North Philadelphia. He was educated in the parochial school system, attending Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School and LaSalle High School in Montgomery County.
After a stint in the United States Navy, McCoy attended Drexel University, where he studied physics and engineering. Although his formal education ended in 1997, McCoy taught himself graphic design, which became the cornerstone of his life’s work. He founded The Buttermilk Art Works, a graphic design and marketing company, in 1995.
He married Dhie Haryoso McCoy on Valentine’s Day, 2013. The couple enjoyed a loving and healthy relationship until his death. He was the father of three daughters: Ca’Sandra Green and Catherine McCoy, from his first marriage with the late Marylavenia Norris-McCoy, and Vanessa Pettway, from a previous relationship with Vanessa Pettway.
McCoy enlisted in the Navy in 1977 and his military service took him around the world. He traveled to Egypt, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines and other places. He loved entertaining family and friends with his service related exploits and adventures. In the last days of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam, a local newspaper noted that “Will McCoy and his shipmates worked 16 hours a day rescuing more than 50 Vietnamese refugees from the South China Sea.”
His family said McCoy remained loyal to the Navy and proud of his military service. He received an honorable discharge in 1983. He often spoke with military phrasing, ordering co-workers and friends to “stand down” or requested a meeting at “0800 hours.”
A self-described “nerd” and cyberspace aficionado, McCoy spent hours in front of the computer exploring its mysteries and developing the skills that allowed him to enjoy a successful career as a graphic designer.
McCoy began designing and laying out newspapers in the early 1990s, working at The Real News newspaper and The Business Review. He became the graphic manager for The Philadelphia New Observer newspaper in 1999. Under McCoy’s direction, the paper received two first place awards for Best Graphic Design in the tabloid category from the National Newspaper Publisher Association. He joined The Philadelphia Tribune as a graphic designer in 2006.
He began to expand The Buttermilk Art Works in 2009. It would become McCoy’s professional identity. The company designed and laid out The Neighborhood Leader, The Black Professional News, The Allegheny West and The Catalyst and dozens of brochures, program booklets, flyers and numerous promotional publications.
In addition to his wife and daughters, he is survived by his grandchildren Malik, Nygee, Basil, Samia, Sabriyah, Sabir, Micah, Zaniyah, Ikeeenah and Thabisle; sister Lois Townsend; niece Lynette Townsend; special “daughter” Nina Lingham and other relatives and friends.
The memorial service will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at T&L’s Place, 331 S. 60th St.