Tariq Abdul Azeez, businessman who loved learning, dies

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
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Tariq Abdul Azeez had a strong work ethic and emphasized the importance of education.

Tariq Abdul Azeez

“He felt it was important for his children, and all blacks, to obtain a good education and be able to contribute knowledge and skills to the community,’’ said his daughter, LaVette Anderson-Cooper.

Mr. Azeez died Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, following a brief illness. He was 87.

Mr. Azeez was co-owner of the Quon Tiki restaurant on Calvert and Linwood on Detroit’s west side from 1967-70. The restaurant served hand-packed ice cream, corned beef sandwiches and homemade bean pies.

He also owned United Brothers Produce, located near the Quon Tiki.

“My dad's business philosophy was to provide the best quality product to the people — meaning fresh ice cream, meats and produce,” said Anderson-Cooper. “He also believed that people should have fresh, clean water and was a pioneer in working with various restaurants in the 1960 and 1970s on clean water filtration.”

“My dad was a kind and gentle man, and was respected and well liked,” she said.

Mr. Azeez’s oldest daughter, Rachelle Anderson, said her father also was a history buff.

“He was very much into history, especially Detroit history,” said Rachelle Anderson. “I remember him taking me over to Hastings Street and showing me his old house not far from it on Mack Avenue.” Hastings Street was the cultural heart of African-American community in the Black Bottom neighborhood of the city.

Like her sister LaVette, Rachelle said her father inspired her as a businessman and because of his emphasis on education.

Born James Otis Anderson near Spartanburg, South Carolina, Mr. Azeez moved to Detroit, where he helped his father with a car detailing business. He served in the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1953.

After returning to Detroit, Mr. Azeez enrolled in Wayne State University and later Detroit Business Institute, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting. As a student at DBI, Mr. Azeez joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Mr. Azeez’s family said he was “angry about the plight” of African-Americans in the United States and he spoke out against discrimination, later joining the Nation of Islam in the early 1960s. After traveling to Ghana, Mr. Azeez became an Orthodox Sunni Muslim, which led to him changing his name in 1979.

Mr. Azeez also held positions at the Social Security Administration, L.A. Long Auto Parks, House of Diggs funeral home, Michigan Chronicle and The Detroit News’ circulation department, from which he retired in 1998.

He enjoyed reading and watching newscasts and sporting events on television. He lived in Detroit’s Midtown area.

Other survivors include another daughter, Nadira Anderson; a son, Umar Azeez; a sister, Mamie Anderson Gattis; and brothers Robert Anderson and Ronald Fredericks. .

Burial was in Great Lakes National military cemetery in Holly.


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