Bassam “Ollie” Naoum was a beloved fixture in the Cabrini Green neighborhood.  An area once in need of beloved fixtures.  He owned two convenience stores there for over 15 years.  He was a well loved and respected man.  He gave money to those who needed it. He visited his customers in the hospital, even making sure their families had necessities.

Mr. Naoum also gave diapers and milk to some so their babies could be fed and clean.  He gave out shoes and clothing to the needy.  He even helped some families pay tuition.  Mr. Naoum paid people’s utility bills, he gave food and money to the local churches, and even bonded people out of jail.  He helped anyone who needed help.  Most times he refused repayment.  He was a man with a big heart and a bigger soul..

Photo from Chicago Sun Times

He worked hard and gave of himself.  Mr. Naoum came to the United States from Jordan.  He lived the American immigrant success story, and shared some of it with those less fortunate.  He helped the poor, the sick, and the needy.  He was described as a man who genuinely loved people.  He lived the American dream and practiced our Judaic-Christian principles.

This kind and generous man was murdered in his store near Cabrini Green.  Shot several times in the back.

This was just one more brazen crime in a city of brazen criminals.  The new root cause of crime is the mere ability to get away with it.  Another husband, father, and beloved credit to this city was murdered in cold blood.

Mr. Noaum was buried the other day.  Some of the 200 mourners at his funeral service were from Cabrini-Green.  They traveled across the city and into Cicero to say good bye to a man who gave them so much.

It is a crying shame a man who not only lived the American dream, but gave as much as he got, should die in a pool of blood on the floor of his business.  It is a sin the killer or killers are still out there.  It is a sign of our times that brazen criminals wander our streets, knowing full well they can kill with impunity.

Mr. Naoum was a hero.  Not because he was brave or committed acts of bravery and courage.  He is a hero because he did things- good, kind, charitable things for others- without being asked.  Mr. Naoum did them because he was a good decent man and they were the right things to do.  He did them because he could.  He is a hero because his memory will live on through all the people he helped in his lifetime.  In death, he achieved eternal life.


About Peter V. Bella

Peter V. Bella is a passionate cook and photographer. Mr. Bella started cooking as a child with his parents. He has taken professional courses through the years. Mr. Bella a a freelance photojournalist and writer based in Chicago.
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