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Abel Bonilla

Published September 22,2020

Obituary's Biography:

Abel Bonilla, 67, of Arlington Heights passed away Friday, Sept 18, 2020. Abel was born Sept 25, 1952 in Zacatecas, Mexico. He was the 8th child of 11 to mother Maria de Jesus Sanchez and father Reynaldo Bonilla.

Abel moved to the Chicagoland in his late teens. Working in Mt. Prospect he met the love of his life, Judy. After having their first daughter and son they decided to escape winter and head west to sunny California. Following a year of working, swimming at the beach, exploring the sequoias and southern California, they grew homesick and moved back to Chicago. After their youngest daughter was born, Abel and his family moved one last time and have resided in Arlington Heights since 1987.

As a young man, Abel worked his way up through the food industry -always dreaming of owning his own restaurant. Never shying from hard work, that dream came true when he and his wife became the proud owners of Abel’s Cantina in September of 1993. After 27 great years of serving his community and three “retirement” parties, he’d be proud to see his children carry it on in his honor.

Abel was a big kid at heart and lived life accordingly. He truly loved to share his life and past experiences with customers and family alike. He had a true gift for storytelling that typically ended in a joke, followed by his irresistible laugh. Abel loved being outdoors, hiking, swimming and planting flowers. He also cherished going out for Sunday breakfast with his grandkids, playing and watching funny movies with them every chance he got.

Abel is survived by his wife of 39 years, Judy, his children Elizabeth (Andy) Rickman, Abel Jr., and Alexis; his grandkids Jenna, Kyle, and Taylor; all his siblings Socorro, Juan, Crisanto, Francisco, Jesus, Jose, Lauro, Manuel, Antolino, and Pablo; and half-siblings Guillermina, Abigail, Efrain, Elvia, David, Jose Pedro, and Luiz. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A visitation is scheduled for Friday, September 25, 2020 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at Strang Funeral Chapel, 410 E. Belvidere Road, Grayslake. Private family funeral service and interment. For information, please call 847-223-8122 or go to www.strangfuneral.org.

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20 Comments

  1. Abel is the face of Grayslake and he will be missed. Prayers to the family and thank you for picking Grayslake for your restaurant. His kindness always made you feel important. His food and margaritas are the best . May his memories stay alive in his restaurant.
    The Muno Family

  2. Such a lovely person. He always talked about the love he had for his family. A giving man and always smiling. He loved life
    Rest in peace. A wonderful but short lived life from God.🙏

  3. Abel was one of the sweetest & most giving persons, that I have ever met. I only knew him through his restaurant, but know he will be missed.

  4. Abel will be so missed. My family ate at Abel’s all the time over 10 plus years we were living in Grayslake. He had such a huge heart for serving people! We will miss him! RIP

  5. Our deepest condolences to all of you on the death of your husband, dad & grandpa. He will be dearly missed by all but not more then all if you. Live you!

  6. Abel will be missed! When we lived in Il I ate the best veggie burritos from Abels at least once a week.

    RIP

  7. Dear Judi and family,
    I am Elizabeth Bonilla the oldest child of Juan Bonilla. My dad and the rest of the family are still in shock after we got the sad news of uncle Abel’s passing. We miss him and are praying for him and for all the family. Love, Elizabeth

  8. My fondest memories of Abel is how well he treated my out of town friends when they came down to the many birthdays I was fortunate to have at his establishment. He treated everyone of them like family and they all felt like they were when they were around him. My deepest condolences to the Bonilla family. He will be sorely missed.

  9. I met Abel 20 years ago when I visited his restaurant. I couldn’t believe how he remembered peoples names or a specific moment from encounters with him even after meeting you once. He would give me words of encouragement in me being a single mother like a dad would. His smile and laugh did light up the world and make it a better place. He will be deeply missed by me and Grayslake community. My heart goes out to his family, thank you for sharing him with all of us. Rest in Peace.

    1. I truly hope he and his family know how much he was loved by his community and customers. My friends and I started going to Ables when he first opened, he always had a smile, loved to laugh and welcomed everyone with “Hello my friend!” He was never cross even when we were being “teenagers”. When Able was having a though time, my friends pooled their money and took him for a limo ride. When I showed up with my high school crush and we were the only two in his restaurant he dimmed the lights and brought a candle to the table saying “I set the mood for love”. Able helped make good memories for myself and my friends, his smile and warmth will be missed. My condolences to his friends and family.

  10. My deepest condolences to you, Judy, and your family. May God give you all peace and comfort during this difficult time. Hugs

  11. It’s so sad to hear of Abels passing ..Darcy and myself are still in shock ..Charles Pacheco said it the best …Abel always greated his guest as his friends….we will definitely miss that man ..a true staple of Grayslake….are deepest regards to Abels family and all his friends….Darcy and Bill McNeill

  12. We are going to miss a wonderful uncle and friend. We are going to pray for you and we will see you in heaven.

  13. Abel was great friend and employee he went out on his own and was very driven and successful RIP my friend

  14. Words cannot express my sorrow for your loss. Uncle’s Abel will always be in my heart. Descanse en paz. My prayers for him, aunt Judy and family.

  15. I first met Abel through my Girlfriend Kathy Jarret White. I loved his conversation, witty and warm, his food, and the ambience of his business, and patrons. A wonderful man, with a witty, lively personality. We Kathy and I,will miss him, as I’m sure many others in Grayslake will. Rest in peace my friend….

  16. Condolences to the Bonilla family. I moved from Grayslake to Pennsylvainai 10 years ago, but I’ll always remember Abel and his Cantina. Abel was a kind & sweet soul. Was so sorry to hear the sad news of his passing.

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