Brooklyn ex-teachers top executive succumbs to cancer

Idabelle Violeta Conchita “Connie” Louis.
Laurel Dawn Dopwell Louis

Brooklyn resident Idabelle Violeta Conchita “Connie” Louis, the newly-elected vice president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc., succumbed to cancer on Oct. 12. She was 72.

Louis – a former elementary school teacher at the Clare Valley and Questelles Government Schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; erstwhile employee at the then Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank, renamed Chase Bank, in New York; and retired employee at New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) — was diagnosed with an undisclosed cancer in October 2019, according to her obituary.

She “fought bravely until her passing,” it says.

The first of two funeral services took place on Oct. 30 at New Hope Worship Center, 817 Livonia Ave., Brooklyn.

The other service will take place in Clare Valley on Nov. 21, immediately followed by interment at the nearby Chauncey Cemetery, according to Louis’s niece, Laurel Dawn Dopwell Louis, a Brooklyn resident.

Louis, who was born on Oct. 20, 1947, attended the Clare Valley and Questelles Government schools.

On attaining the School Leaving Certificate from the Questelles Government School, at 16, she accepted teaching positions at the Clare Valley Government School, then at the Questelles Government School, where she taught until migrating to the United States.

In New York, she worked at MHT for 17 years, “where she experienced two major mergers and corporation name changes,” according to the obituary.

While working at MHT, Louis earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration, from Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, City University of New York, in 1997.

Afterwards, she gained employment at the MTA, first as a train conductor, then as a tower operator. She retired from the MTA in 2014.

“Conchita’s love for her people and her country was manifested in the fact that she supported numerous Vincentian organizations with her time, energy and resources,” the obituary says. “She also took local children under her tutelage.”

As a young girl, Louis attended the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Clare Valley.

She re-dedicated her life to Christ, was baptized on Nov. 17, 2017, and became an active member of the New Hope Family Worship Center.

The obituary describes Louis as “articulate, elegant, refined, vibrant, social butterfly and dedicated to family.”

It says that she battled her illness with “grace and dignity.”

“While speaking with her, you would have never known she was ill,” the obituary says. “Her voice remained strong, she kept up her usual routine, and maintained her ‘everything will work out’ attitude.

“Even with the rigors of her appointment and treatment schedule, she still made time for family and friends,” it adds.

In paying tribute to Louis at the funeral service, at New Hope Worship Center, Jackson Farrell, president of the St. Vincent Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc., said she was, among other things, “loving, caring reliable, giving.”

“She loved sharing, she loved giving,” said Farrell, a retired public school teacher in New York. “She gave and gave until it hurt, which is important, because a lot of people like receiving, but they don’t like to give.

“Conchita, we love and care about you,” he added. “One thing you always challenged us was to do more for SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines).

“So, go in peace my sister. Rest in peace. Peace and love to the family. Good bye, madame vice president. Bye for now,” continued Farrell, invoking Louis’s favorite line, “bye for now.”

Dr. Herman Ambris, a St. Vincent Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc. trustee, read a poem, at the funeral service, in tribute to Louis.

“All teachers are special/we’ve had one or two/who have molded and shaped us indelibly,” read the Brooklyn physician in part. “One of my favorites is Idabelle Louis/affectionately known as Miss Conchita to you.

“Old teachers don’t die/neither live in the sky,” he added. “They live on in their students/and as time passes by/their wisdom gives rise to imaginations extreme/that blossom into reality beyond which others could dream.”

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