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Constance "Connie" Coleman

April 25, 1940 March 4, 2021
Constance "Connie" Coleman
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Obituary for Constance "Connie" Coleman

Constance "Connie" Coleman, a 49-year resident of Oak Park, died peacefully at home on March 4, 2021.

Connie’s many passions included nature and gardening, and the shrubs, flowers, and vegetables around her home reflected her love and hard work. Away from her home, she was a member of the Appalachian Trail Society and the Audubon Society and loved to walk on local and distant trails.

Connie was a music lover, particularly Baroque music, both as listener and participant. She sang in local choruses and chorales, and never gave up her piano playing. And she loved to dance.

The second of three daughters born to John and Constance Ducey, Connie was born and attended local schools in the Chicago area. After Manhattanville College in New York, she began a 33-year career with the U.S. Department of Labor, first in Washington D.C., and then in the Chicago Regional Office of the Employment and Training Administration. In her work, Connie was involved in the policy creation and design of job development programs, particularly the Job Corps. She was a determined and successful advocate for including an onsite child care facility so that young parents could receive training and still be near their children.

Connie was also an advocate and mentor for young women at the Labor Department, pressing for equal treatment in job assignments and pay. This activity reflected her broader commitment to civil rights, social justice, equity, and racial justice. She volunteered as a tester for open housing and, as part of that effort, testified in federal court cases on housing discrimination.

While working and raising her family, Connie still found time to earn a Master’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Loyola University of Chicago. She later taught night school courses concerning employee benefits at Roosevelt and Northwestern Universities.

Connie was the adored and devoted wife of Gary Lee Coleman; loving mother of two sons, Conal (Sarah) and Peter (Deborah) Duffy; cherished grandmother of Megan (Philip Legan), Lisa, Conal, Jr., Erin, Colleen, and Molly Duffy; dear sister of Joanna (Dr. Joseph) Lawton and the late Veronica Ducey; fond aunt and cousin; and treasured friend of many.

A memorial service will be held later.

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