Wassalu Ahmond Bilal Abdullah, 68, passed away January l, 2015 at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, from complications that developed after treatment for lung cancer.
Wassalu was born in Chicago on April 21 , 1946, to George and Beatrice Taylor, but lived in Carbondale, lllinois, throughout his childhood. His birth name was Robert Wesley Taylor but he later changed his name to Wassalu in 1972.
As a child, Wassalu loved to play outdoors and go camping. He excelled in many sports -track, football and especially basketball, where he played on the varsity team as a freshman. After his father’s death, when still very young, he took guidance from a Scout Master, church leaders and school coaches. He graduated in 1964 from Crispus Attucks High School.
As a teenager, Wassalu worked in the peach orchards picking peaches during the summers. He moved to Elgin during the late 1960’s to find a better job and was one of the first Black recruits to participate in the apprenticeship program for the Iron Workers Union, Local 393 in Aurora, lL. He was an iron worker for 38 years until his retirement in 2006, taking great pride in the “monuments” he had built during those years. Wassalu was drafted into the Army in 1969 where he served his country with honor until 1971.
Besides his family, he loved gardening, barbequing, woodworking, fishing and listening to jazz. His specialty was the holiday turkey done outside on the Webber Grill -no gas! He was a charcoal purist! Wassalu loved to share the produce in his garden and he grew exotic varieties of tomatoes, beans, potatoes, cucumbers and greens. He made furniture from wood, including a picnic table, blanket chest, headboard, and a rocking camel and other baby furniture for his son, Raoul.
He is survived by his wife, Charlene, and son, Raoul; three children by previous marriage including two daughters, Michi (Marvin) Lynch and Claudette Jones, and one son, Gibraltar; two brothers, Melvin Taylor of New York, NY and Karim (Shawanda) Abdullah of Carbondale, IL; four grandchildren, Jazmine and A’ja Lynch, and Javon and Shalana Jones; nieces, nephews, an aunt, and many cousins.
Visitation is Wednesday, January 7, 2015, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. with the funeral service at 8:00-9:00 p.m. The funeral service and visitations are being held at Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park Street, Elgin, IL. For more information call 847-741-1128 or visit www.madisonfuneralhomeelgin.com.