Fred Abdula

August 22, 1925October 12, 2012
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Fred Abdula, 87, of Waukegan, Illinois, passed away on October 12, 2012, surrounded by his loving family. Beloved husband of Anna Marie for 63 years; loving father of Linda (James) Considine, Patrick Abdula, Michael Abdula, and Lisa Abdula; fond brother of Marlene Hunt; adoring uncle to many nieces and nephews.

Born to Joseph and Valda Abdula on August 22, 1925, Fred was a lifelong resident of Waukegan. He was a 1943 graduate of Waukegan Township High School. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII in the South Pacific. Through the GI Bill, he earned a BSME from the University of Illinois, and began his career at Deep Freeze, Inc., and Johnson Motors in Waukegan. In 1955, his entrepreneurial spirit prompted him to start his own business, Air Con Refrigeration and Heating, Inc., a mechanical contracting firm which is now in its second generation of operation. He belonged to the Lake County Contractors Association, and served as its President in 1973 and 1979.

A dynamic person always looking for new challenges, Fred was elected to the Board of Directors, Bank of Waukegan (presently NorStates Bank), in 1975; in 1982 he was elected Chairman of the Board and CEO. Upon his retirement in 2011, the NorStates main facility on Lewis Avenue was designated The Honorary Fred Abdula Banking Center. In addition, a portion of Roger Edwards Avenue that leads to the Lewis Avenue facility has been dedicated as “Fred Abdula Honorary Avenue.”

His continued dedication and love for the community in which he lived and worked led him to become one of the prime movers in the refurbishment of the Genesee Theatre, serving on the Board of Directors since 1991. To honor his tremendously successful efforts on this project, the Genesee Theatre stage has been named for him. Over the years, Fred held many other prestigious positions, such as Director of the Waukegan/Lake County Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of the First Federal Bank and CEO (1992); Board of Directors of the Waukegan Business Association (1993); Board of Directors of Vista Health Systems (2007).

Fred and Anna’s philanthropic endeavors were many. In 1995, a generous donation to the College of Lake County Foundation resulted in the annual Abdula Scholarship; Fred was awarded the “Gates of Jerusalem” Medal for his contributions to the community and for his efforts to strengthen Israel’s economy through the Israel Bond campaign (1984); they donated funds for the purchase of police dogs for the City of Waukegan. In addition, Fred was involved in many service organizations such as The United Way, the American Legion, Elks, Lions, Kiwanis and Moose Clubs, and also was a member of the Glen Flora Country Club.

Over the years, many honors were bestowed on Fred, such as Financial World Magazine naming him CEO of the Year (1993) for $300M Bank; induction into the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame (2003); Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois (2006); Patron of the Year – Waukegan Park District (2009); Grand Marshal of Waukegan’s American Independence Parade (2011).

Fred Abdula will be remembered by all those who knew him for his unflagging devotion to his family and friends, his outstanding business and community leadership, and his generous support and service to a great many causes. Visitation will be at Marsh Funeral Home, 305 N. Cemetery Road, Gurnee, IL, on Monday, October 22 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, October 23, at 11:00 a.m., also at Marsh Funeral Home. Entombment will be at Northshore Garden of Memories in North Chicago.

Donations in Fred’s memory maybe made to the Friends of the Historic Genesee Theatre, 203 North Genesee, Waukegan, IL 60085.


  • Visitation Monday, October 22, 2012
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fred Abdula

have a memory or condolence to add?

Larry Groser

December 10, 2012

I just heard about Fred's passing from former co-worker Bob Stone. I worked for Fred from 1986-1989 at Air Con when I first got into the the profession. He was one of my first mentors in the business. Fred's knowledge was great, but his compassion for people is what I remember the most. I last saw him around 5 years ago...I stopped in at the bank to say hello, and he remembered me! We sat and chatted for awhile about life, business and family.

My deepest condolences to the family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Fred had a big heart, and set a great example with his leadership, courage, compassion and wisdom. I am blessed having known him. May God rest his soul.

Debbie Thompson

December 3, 2012

I was deeply saddened when I stopped in to the bank last week and learned of Mr.Abdula's passing. I am just so so very sorry for your loss! He was such a wonderful person. You see, my mom, Marcy DeMasters was his personal secretary and V.P.for quite a few years at the Bank of Waukegan. I always remember her telling me that she would not retire until Fred did. Unfortunately, she took sick and was forced in to retirement. I know that was a very difficult time for her. She respected and admired him so much. I just wanted to let your family know what a truly wonderful man he was. He also helped me along when I returned to Illinois to be with my family. So, I am writing this not only for myself but also my dear sweet mom... She would have liked me to do this. Again, please accept my very deepest sympathies. He will be greatly missed!!

Mike Kreul

October 27, 2012

Our deepest condolences to Ann, Linda, Lisa, Pat & Mike. Your Father was truly a unique and sincere man, and undoubtly the best friend MY Father ever had. Our lives were, and are, enriched by Fred. We all are blessed by his presence.

Carol Passalaqua

October 25, 2012

To the Abdula Family, I was very sad to hear about Fred's passing. He will be missed. I had the benefit of working for him back in 1987-1992 and I enjoyed my involvement with the firm. Fred was always a gentleman and very generous. My thoughts and prayers go to all of you.

Linda Hess

October 24, 2012

I was so sorry to learn about Fred's death. He had a larger than life presence and contributed so much to the community. My sympathies are with all of you.

October 22, 2012

Julie Bilow

October 21, 2012

My condolences and prayers are with you. Last Saturday evening, I was looking at a wedding photo of Dad and Mom (Fred and Arlene Nelson). Fred and Ann were in the photo, too. It brought back fond memories of my early childhood days. I always thought Fred was so handsome and Ann so beautiful. Fun times our families had together. Love, Julie (Nelson) Bilow

Rob and Kathy Makela

October 21, 2012

Linda, So sorry to hear about your dad. Wish we could be with you. Sending our love your way. Kathy


October 21, 2012

Sending sympathy from our family to yours.May the God of all comfort be with you in the days ahead.He will draw close to you if you draw close to him(James 4:8).

Petar Cvitkovic

October 20, 2012

Dear Abdula Family,

I join with so many others who knew Fred in offering my deepest sympathy on his passing. I enjoyed many years of service at Air Con and appreciated Fred as a boss who was kind, fair and very generous.

May you find peace and comfort in knowing that his loss is felt by all who knew and loved him. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

In Sympathy,
Petar Cvitkovic & Family