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Michael Salas

12/8/1950 - 9/5/2017

PEORIA HEIGHTS ~ Michael Raoul Salas, 66, of Peoria Heights, passed away at 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria.

Born December 8, 1950 in St. Louis, Missouri to Raymond and Evelyn (Pieper) Salas. Michael married the love of his life Madelynn Ator on March 10, 1971 in Fort Rucker, Alabama. She preceded him in death, on March 29, 2008 in Peoria Heights. He was also preceded in death by his parents.

Surviving are two daughters, Jennifer (David) Schneider and Lisa (Richard) Lehnhausen, both of Peoria Heights; two step-sons, John Parker of Missouri and Jeff Day of Texas; four grandchildren, Ashley, Haley, Helena and Zakary; one great-grandson, Colin; three brothers, Thomas, Gary and Dan Salas and one sister, Barbara Nickell. Three brother in laws, Larry, Daniel, Stephen (Janeen) Ator. Many aunts and uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces. Family was important to Michael and he cherished all of his loved ones.

Michael was a proud veteran of the Vietnam War, serving in the United States Army from 1968 to 1971 and was a recipient of the Bronze Star of Valor.

Michael was the 45th commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Peoria Heights Post #2602. Michael was the only commander to serve in all seats, as well as serving 2 consecutive terms. He was also a club member of the VVI (Vietnam Veterans of Illinois). Michael had a fond appreciation for all veterans with special appreciation for our disabled Veterans. He was able organize several trips for them to see the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Bulls.  He was also responsible for the flag display, lining Prospect Avenue in Peoria Heights.

Known by many as “Cactus Mike”, he was passionate about cacti. He had several varieties and loved to show them off. Michael also enjoyed making natural stone jewelry.

Michael was a man of many trades. He had been a self-employed carpenter in the Peoria area for many years, retiring in 2004.

Michael was a former member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Peoria, where he taught Bible studies.

Cremation has been accorded by Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin. Military graveside rites will be at 1 p.m. Friday, September 15, 2017 at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield. Military rites will be provided by Inter-Veterans Burial Detail of Sangamon County.  A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday September 16, 2017 from noon to 4 p.m. at the VFW #2602 Peoria Heights.

Memorial contributions may be given to OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, 8630 IL Rt. 91, Peoria, IL 61615.

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