Born Gary Cole Feb. 10, 1954 in Bell, Tennessee to Luna Mae and Frank Cole, he graduated from Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin. He developed his love for basketball there and then attended the University of Wisconsin-Parkside where he became a stand-out basketball player. The NBA drafted him and he scored the first two points in Dallas Maverick history. He then became one of Europe’s most dynamic and well respected players, playing in Italy for Libertas Livorno and Lazio just to name a few.
While in college he became interested in Islam. He formally converted to Islam in 1976 and changed his name to Abdul Qadir Jeelani. During the last few years Abdul spent time offering basketball training to youth in Italy and Racine.
Abdul is survived by two children, a son, Azim Jeelani (wife Debbie) and daughter Kareema Jeelani; his brother, Jesse Ward (Sylvia), sisters, Veronica J. Cole, Darlene Ward and Barbara Ward; seven grandchildren, Azarian Davis, Kh’Maria Jeelani, Jalen D. Silas, Brandon Jeelani, Karisma Flowers, Kayla Flowers and Kaori Jeelani; special niece and nephews, Khadija McNeil (m. Jeelani); Rashid Jeelani, Raheem Jeelani and a host of loving relatives.
His mother Luna Mae Cole preceded him in death.
Funeral Details For Abdul Qadie Jeelani
Funeral Services will be held 5 p.m. Thursday at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Fieldhouse, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha, WI 53144. Relatives and friends may meet with the family Thursday at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside from 4 p.m. until time of service at 5 p.m.