Paul Arthur Abolila died at Duke University Hospital on April 4, 2022, due to heart failure. He was 94.
Maj. Abolila was born on June 4, 1927, in New York City to Paul and Essie Gillikin Abolila. He moved with his family to his grandparents’ farm in Carteret County, NC, where he attended Beaufort Elementary School. They then moved to Chadbourn, NC, where they operated the Family Café. As a teenager, he worked in defense industries in Wilmington, NC, and Georgia before enlisting in the US Navy in 1944 at age 17. He served in the Pacific during World War II as a radio operator on the USS Jasper. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946. He returned to North Carolina and graduated from Chadbourn High School in 1947. He then enlisted in the US Army Air Force as a corporal. When the US Air Force was created, he turned in his brown uniforms and was issued the blue uniforms, serving as a communications officer and retiring in 1969 with the rank of Major. He earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering (honors) from the University of Arizona in 1965.
Maj. Abolila was stationed at numerous posts including in Long Island, NY; Port Austin AFS, MI; Shaw AFB, South Carolina; Tucson, AZ; and Lackland, TX, as well as France and Viet Nam. After retiring from the Air Force he resided in Fort Worth for many years. He was an avid golfer and a fan of jazz, enjoying the live music scene in Austin. He lived in Carrboro NC for several years before his death.
Maj. Abolila is preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy; son, David; daughter, Karen; brother, Peter; sister, Evelyn “Bess” Borkowski; and partner, Frances Johnson. He is survived by his sister, Rose Crawford, of Carrboro NC; sister-in-law, Julie Abolila, of Juno Beach FL; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Tee – Triangle in Raleigh, NC. Walker’s Funeral Home in Chapel Hill NC is assisting the family.