Joseph Nathan Billups, age 87, of Elgin, IL, passed away on June 2, 2022. He was born May 6, 1935 in Carrollton, AL to his loving parents, Willie and Earlene (née Foster) Billups.

Joe was 24 years of age, when he moved to Elgin in 1959. He was a hard-working and quiet man who held several jobs simultaneously and never “fully” retired. According to him, he was to stop all work this year – which he did.

Joe was a skilled barber, who serviced many Elgin area residents from the 1960’s until a few years ago. Joe’s Barbershop on Grove Avenue was a staple in the Elgin community for over 55 years. There are many generations of families that sat in his barber chair to hear the “buzz” of his clippers and “click” of his shears. Joe was diligent about his craft so much that he would drive to Chicago to have his shears and straight edge razors sharpened regularly.

By day, Joe worked for School District U-46. He was a school bus driver for many years and finally a mechanic for years, before retiring July, 1997. His work career continued when he started Joe Billups Trucking, where he and his laborers serviced Elgin and many surrounding communities with moving, rubbish removal, and various other services. Joe was a true worker and finally “retired” in 2021.

Joe and Raphal Dee Snowden met when she brought her young sons to his barber shop in the early 1960’s. Their relationship developed from friendship to marriage and the birth of two daughters.

Joe was a long-time dedicated member of Progressive Baptist Church, where he served at as an usher, trustee, and member of the men’s choir. He was known to help out around the church wherever there was a need, ie: snow removal, repairs, and pick up’s/drop off’s. He was a phone call away.

Joe had a love for cars and was known to have several cars at one time, such as Ford Model A, 1957 Chevy, Rivera from the 60’s, and various other cars over the years.

In his later years, Joe enjoyed spending hours on his yard, planting flowers/shrubs and in his garden. He also loved country living and taking road trips to the south, where he hoped to return and live someday.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Raphal Snowden Billups; and brothers, John Robert, Oscar, Donald, and Fon Billups. He is survived by his daughters, JoAnn (Eric) Taylor of Chicago, IL, Daphne Newsom of Chicago, IL, and Raphal Dee Spates of Elgin, IL; sons, Steve (Linda) Billups of Buford, GA, Ronnie Spates of Elgin, IL, Kevin (Antoinette) Spates of Zion, IL, and Everett (Sonia) Spates of San Antonio, TX; sister, Martha Wallace of Elgin, IL; granddaughter, Dedzra Leonard King; a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins; and special extended family, Lea Vasquez, Giovanni Vasquez, Armanii Vasquez, and Loyal Vasquez.

Visitation will be 10:00am until funeral service at 11:00am, Saturday, June 11, 2022 at Progressive Baptist Church, 305 Ann Street, Elgin, IL 60120.  Pr. Willie Tate will be officiating.

Interment will be private.

Final arrangements entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. For more information, call 847-741-1128 or visit

5 Replies to “Joseph Nathan Billups”

  1. JoAnn, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m praying for you and your family during this difficult time

  2. So sorry for your loss I will continue to pray for the family

  3. Sorry for your loss

  4. Hey cousins. We love you and our prayers are with you and all the Billups in IL and AL!

  5. Brenda and I send our prayers and condolences to the Billups family during this difficult time of illness and loss.

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