Bilal A. Salaam

Bilal A. Salaam

Bilal A. Salaam (Floyd Herschel Softley Abel), 78, of Decatur, Illinois, passed September 13, 2019.  Bilal Aleem Salaam was born March 2, 1941, in Decatur, Illinois to Theodore Roosevelt Softley and Charlene Abel. He attended Eisenhower High School where he was very active in sports, mainly playing  football and basketball. Upon his graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army where he spent most of his time serving in Germany. While serving in Germany, he joined the Army’s basketball team which allowed him to travel and play basketball throughout Europe. After his military service ended, he returned home for a short period before deciding to try his chances in California. One day Bilal packed his bags and hopped on a train to Sacramento where he lived for four years, working for Campbell Soup Company. He continued eating their soups up until the end. We all know how finicky he was, so if he was willing to eat Campbell soup after working for the company, he must have been impressed with their level cleanliness. Bilal eventually returned to Decatur upon hearing that Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was hiring. He began as a tire builder and later worked as an engineer in the x-ray department until his retirement. He was a dedicated and loyal employee for nearly 30 years. Bilal married Bertha Graves in 1966, to this union one daughter was born.He always enjoyed spending time with friends and family. He was an avid reader, loved the Motown sound, and very knowledgeable on many subjects. He could have a debate with you about anything from sports to politics to health, and we all know he did love a good debate. Bilal always radiated an air of kindness and generosity. He was outgoing, never meeting a stranger, and he would only see the best in everyone. His smile was always apparent, and his caring always evident. He was one of the founding members of the local chapter of the Islamic mosque where he served as treasurer for many years. Bilal leaves to cherish his memories: daughter, Tracey Abel of Castro Valley, CA; ex-wife and caring friend Bertha Abel of Decatur, IL., sisters Toni Currie of Decatur, IL, Prudence (Edward) Sims of Chicago, IL, Brenda Martin and Linda Softley of Detroit, MI and, and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins whom he loved dearly. He was preceded in death by his mother, Charlene Softley; father, Theodore Softley Sr.; grandfather, James Marshall Abel; grandmother, Minnie Spottsville Abel; brothers Theodore Softley Jr., Edward Softley, and Donald Softley; sisters Phyllis Kay Washington, and Sharon Williams; aunts, Maurine Abel, Maggie Pugh, Clara Carter, Lula Mae Freeman, Alma Jean Heart; uncles, Dennis Abel, Floyd Abel, Ivan Abel, Joseph Abel, and several other relatives.
March 2, 1941 - September 13, 201903/02/194109/13/2019
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Obituary

Bilal A. Salaam (Floyd Herschel Softley Abel), 78, of Decatur, Illinois, passed September 13, 2019.  Bilal Aleem Salaam was born March 2, 1941, in Decatur, Illinois to Theodore Roosevelt Softley and Charlene Abel. He attended Eisenhower High School where he was very active in sports, mainly playing  football and basketball. Upon his graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army where he spent most of his time serving in Germany. While serving in Germany, he joined the ...

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Events

Sep
21
Visitation
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09/21/2019 12:00 PM09/21/2019 01:00 PM Saturday, September 21 2019
12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Graceland Cemetery
Visitation
2091 North Oakland Avenue
Decatur, IL 62526
United States
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Bilal A. Salaam's visitation
Sep
21
Service
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09/21/2019 01:00 PM Saturday, September 21 2019
01:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Graceland Cemetery
Service
2091 North Oakland Avenue
Decatur, IL 62526
United States
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Graceland Funeral Home (2091 North Oakland Avenue) Repast to follow Main Street Church (2000 North Main Street)
Final Resting Place
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Fairlawn Cemetery
Final Resting Place

Decatur, IL 625222
United States
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Bilal A. Salaam's graveside burial