published Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Chattanooga Housing Authority board member Connie O'Neal dies

Consuelo "Connie" O'Neal, who built a career in education and community service and brought "a true love for public housing" to her role as a board member of the Chattanooga Housing Authority, has died.

She was 60.

Mayor Bob Corker appointed O'Neal to the CHA board in 2004. She served as CHA board chairwoman from September 2006 to November 2007 and remained on the board until she died Sunday from complications related to cancer.

O'Neal had a passion for helping people who lived in public housing, said CHA board Chairman Eddie Holmes.

"She is a graduate of public housing," said Holmes. "She grew up in College Hill Courts, so she was a true advocate for those individuals. She had a true love for public housing."

For her, life was about community service, said her 31-year-old son, Aubrey Bray Brooks.

"She lived from the perspective of understanding that the blessing is being able to be a blessing for someone else," said Brooks.

Bruce O'Neal, her husband of 21 years, said he will remember her loving kindness, gentleness and wit.

"She understood the law of positive attraction," he said. "The manner in which she related to people drew people to her and she was able to assist them in any way possible."

O'Neal was director of family services for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga for four years. Prior to that she worked at Chattanooga State Technical Community College where she retired after 30 years as vice president of student affairs. She is also a retiree of the state of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents where she worked for 33 years.

She is also survived by a daughter, Bettina K. O'Neal of New Orleans.

Viewing will be at John P. Franklin Funeral Home on Dodds Avenue from noon to 7 p.m. Friday. Family hours will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A graveside service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Forest Hills Cemetery.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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