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Public Funeral Planned For Flamboyant Drug Kingpin

November 19, 1986 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ A diamond-flashing drug kingpin who buried his slain son in a Cadillac- shaped coffin and who was shot in the head as he sat in his chauffeur- driven Cadillac will be buried Friday.

Willie ″Flukey″ Stokes, who sported silk suits, flashed diamonds and handed out cash at his wedding anniversary, was gunned down Tuesday on the city’s South Side.

Stokes’ son, Willie ″The Wimp″ Stokes Jr. died, like his father, from a shot in the head. At his 1984 funeral, attended by more than 5,000 guests, mourning relatives placed $1,000 bills between his fingers.

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His body was dressed in a red silk suit and gray hat, and his fingers gripped the steering wheel of a $10,000 casket resembling a Cadillac Seville, complete with wheels made of flowers, a front grille and a license plate stamped WIMP.

A.R. Leak Funeral Home, which also arranged the funeral for Stokes’ son, said a public wake and service would be held Friday for the elder Stokes, 49, but would not release details.

Police said at least two gunmen ambushed Stokes, who was killed by a shotgun blast to the head as he sat in his car. His driver, Ronald Johnson, 48, died in a hail of automatic-weapon fire, police said.

″It’s not terribly surprising he got hit,″ said Patrick Healy, director of the Chicago Crime Commission. ″A person of this visibility is tempting not only to the person that wants to just rip him off for the money, but maybe people he went sour on with deals.″

Police Sgt. Richard O’Connell speculated that the killing may have been ordered by a man Stokes wanted killed or that it may have been over a dispute with rival drug dealers. No charges had been filed as of Tuesday night.

Police records show Stokes listed his occupation as professional gambler.

Last year, the elder Stokes, who favored a dangling diamond earring and a horseshoe-shaped ring made of nine, one-carat diamonds, threw a $200,000 bash to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary.

It featured the Staple Singers and the Chi-lites, and Stokes strolled the floor stuffing $50 and $100 bills into the guests’ pockets.

Stokes’ record of arrests on weapons and drug charges dates to 1962, including a 1979 narcotics conviction for which he served 18 months, but Healy said, ″I think he got more play not so much because of his big drug dealings, which were probably substantial, but because of the flamboyant way he went about it.″