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Monday October 21, 2019

slain doctor from laporte laid to rest

Friday, November 30, 2018 17:14 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News
Dr. Tamara O’Neal, gunned down outside a Chicago hospital where she practiced, was described as a God loving ray of sunshine by friends and family members who attended her packed funeral in LaPorte on Friday. Paul Pryor, a cousin of hers from South Holland, Ill., said the 38-year old O’Neal always seemed to have a smile on her face and a smiley face symbol on her text messages. He said O’Neal went into the medical field not for the money but to help the less fortunate. ‘’She was just a caring, loving person. Very loving,’’ Pater said. O’Neal was a 1998 graduate of LaPorte High School. ‘’I’m going to miss her enthusiasm. I’m going to miss her spirit. She was a very happy person. She enjoyed life to the fullest and we’re all going to miss that,’’ said Adele Cobbs. Cobbs is a doctor at Mercy Hospital in Chicago where O’Neal was shot November 19. Police said her fiancée, Juan Lopez, shot her multiple times in the hospital parking lot. He then went inside the hospital. The 32-year old Lopez, upset over a broken engagement, was shot during a gunfire exchange with police then fatally shot himself, police said. Also killed were former St. John resident, Dayna Less, a 24-year old resident pharmacist at the hospital and Chicago Police officer Samuel Jimenez, 28. Extra seats were brought out to accommodate a crowd of about 500 spilling into the lobby of the First Church of God at 2020 E. Lincolnway. Hugs along with tears were not in short supply among those in attendance. One of the first songs performed by a choir led by her brother, Turrell O’Neal, was ‘’There’s Power in the Name of Jesus.’’ O’Neal said it was one of his sister’s favorites to sing as a member of the choir at the church their family attended while growing up. Helping ease the pain of her loss was faith O’Neal was now in a better place. ‘’We’re going to miss her because we’re all human and we deal with the flesh. But, like her mom said, she knew God. Nothing can take the place of that,’’ said Cynthia Brown of Michigan City. Brown said she got to know her more than 10-years ago at the Family Christian Center in LaPorte. She said her children were in the church choir O’Neal directed at the time. Alexandria Holliday, a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, went to medical school with O’Neal at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She said O’Neal kept her and other classmates motivated to stay on top of their studies. ‘’She’s a beautiful soul and I know she’s smiling and proud of everything that we’ve done for her so far. We really, really miss her,’’ Holliday said. LaPorte mayor Mark Krentz and 11 members of the LaPorte Fire Department also paid their respects. Nobody had to wait in line to get in because of the church being spacious but once all of the seats were filled the crowd started backing up into the lobby. News crews from TV stations in Chicago and South Bend interviewed several family members and friends as they made their way across the church parking lot more than half-full less than an hour prior to the start of the 11 a.m. funeral. They all seemed gracious in agreeing to talk about a woman they held in such high regard while maintaining their composure during the interviews. ‘’We do have a strong foundation in faith so I guess the main thing that keeps us going is our faith,’’ Pryor said.




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