On Thursday, September 17th, 2020, William Bartido Brock III passed away at the age of 53, while residing in Kansas City, where he made his home for the past 13 years. Billy, as he was affectionately called by his family, was born March 13, 1967 in Los Angeles, CA to his high-school, sweetheart parents, Joan Carol Fullmore and William Bartido Brock II (now known as Wali Shamsuddin). They noticed that his dominant characteristic was joy. The importance of family was paramount to Billy as evident by the immediate and deep connection he had and sustained with his first cousin, Adrianne (Dent) Johnson— they were inseparable and often dressed alike by his beloved Aunt Veretta Dent. He was always in the loving arms of his Grandparents, Helen and Johnn Fullmore and became the “little brother” to his young Aunts and Uncles— The Brocks— Jeannette, Vincent, Kenneth and Evelyn. Billy became a big brother at the age of three when his sister, Mara Brock Akil, was born and again at age seven when his sister, Kara (Brock) Bustos rounded out the family. From that point on, he was the forever-protective “Big Brother,” a title he took on with pride and responsibility. When the family moved to Kansas City in 1977, Billy helped lead the transition of this new life in the Midwest for the “Cali Kids.” Some of their fondest memories include the marathon Monopoly games they played in fierce competition to weather the cold winters and the building of a massive igloo lead by Billy’s belief that anything can be done with hard work. Bill, as he was known to his close friends, attended Raytown South High School, but refrained from a lot of after-school activities because he chose to be a contributor to his household. Instead, he began bagging groceries and worked himself up to cashier at Milgram, a local grocery store. One of Bill’s finest qualities was his need to provide and support his mother, the woman he adored, who was now raising the family on her own.
In 1985 Bill graduated high-school with honors which lead him to Westminster College in Fulton, MO on a scholarship, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1989. Given that family and fun was always a compliment to his life, he found brotherhood in the fraternity of Beta Theta Pi his sophomore year. One who was eager to chop down his dreams, Bill landed his first corporate sales job right out of college with Aetna Health Plans and moved to Hartford, CT. He was happy to be a young patriarch in his family of women. He later settled in Grand Rapids, MI in 1992 to lead surgical sales for Johnson & Johnson Medical Inc.. Grand Rapids is where he bought his first house— one he filled with parties and friends and his dog, Reba. But it was his marriage to Aksana Ajayi in 1997 and the birth of his only daughter, Ava Brock, three years later that made his house a true home and brought him the most joy. Bill became a leader in the community, bridging West Michigan minority businesses with major corporations in the region for mutual growth and profitability through his work with West Michigan CEO Roundtable Group. He also served on the Employers Coalition for Healing Racism, was a council board member of St. Mary’s Health Services Development and mentored students to further their dreams through education. And on his off time, he was golfing. He built a beautiful life in Grand Rapids and even took a swing at bigger dreams and became the entrepreneur he always wanted to be when he bought The Wonderland Group, a MMBDC minority-owned printing and forms distributor company. It was during this chapter of his life that he also patented and manufactured the Brockfolio— an all-in-one wallet, card case, memo pad that can fit neatly in one’s pocket or small purse. To know Bill is to know that he was brimming with ideas and entrepreneurial pursuits. But chasing dreams is not for the faint of heart. A lot of people would not choose the challenges that come along with creating or building something to last for generations or simply make an immediate impact on their family and community. Billy took his swing and lost a lot at once.
Though he endured heartbreak, he still stood in joy and hope and the belief that he would rebuild his life. The journey lead him back to his childhood home in Kansas City to begin again in 2007. Raised with the pride of knowing that hard work is God’s work, he started a new business as a handy man, even taking pride in painting his own home as a reference for what he could do for others. While in Kansas City, he realigned his faith and prioritized his relationship with God. He reacquainted with friends and had fun playing cards and darts and golf together. He even rescued two new dogs. In 2010, he pursued a new career selling life insurance with SelectQuote. He thrived in his role of selling and educating his clients on the need and importance of life insurance, becoming a top agent. He fervently restored and deepened his relationships with the family he dearly loved, championing the need for more connections and time spent together. He was aware that tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
He was most proud of witnessing his daughter graduate top of her high-school class and head to her dream school of UCLA. In fact, at the end of his life, top of mind was securing safe housing for his daughter Ava during the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine while she was away at school. And in his last days, he found some personal joy and knew love again. William “Billy” Brock died fighting to be the hero of his life. He is survived by his precious daughter Ava, his mother Joan, his father Wali, his sisters Mara, Kara and Chi’Mere Banks, his brother Saiid Shamsuddin and his dear grandmother Helen. Billy joins Aunt Veretta, Grandfather Johnn, Grandmother Candida Brock, Aunt Evelyn and Brother Shamsie Shamsuddin in spirit and will be remembered by his nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and dear friends.
Funeral Services will be held at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 29th at Watkins Heritage Chapel. Visitation 4PM. Interment Inglewood, California.
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