Obituaries

Deirdre E. O’Connor, AKA Nancy E. Schnabel

Deirdre O Connor 090419 onlineMay 31, 1931 -August 21, 2019 Deirdre passed quietly Wednesday, 21 August 2019. She was 88 years old. She led an extraordinarily diverse life Actress, housewife, mother, teacher, editor, playwright, Everything she did, she did very well with dramatic style Starting @ 3 years, she danced for neighbors on a makeshift stage 1 - 2 the dolly step.. Leads in high school & college musicals Started her own radio drama show while still a teen. Toured 42 states, doing one night stands in small & big towns in the ’50’s before television, or even electricity were common. Women’s and Civil Rights activist and back to the University life in the 60’s Became a gifted classroom teacher and reading specialist An increasing disability didn’t stop her: she wrote a book while still in a halo brace Starting amateur acting in the early 90’s - her first love. Packed in ice to ease the pain, she would come home positively glowing with the thrill of being on stage. Sprinkled throughout her life were theater critic, feature writer, acting coach, performer’s publicist, oh, and she designed and had built our delightfully authentic Victorian revival house.

Complex, exciting, brilliant Deirdre is survived by 3 great grand children, 5 grandchildren, 3 living children Beautiful and charming. Willowy and strikingly unique, she modeled for Sax 5th Avenue Even at 88, she had no wrinkles, and still had this sweet teenage voice. Early acting work was with Jack Clugman, Vincent Price, Basal Rathbone, Tony Perkins, Barbara Belgettess and Barbara Rush to name a few Hazel eyes that flashed at cruelty and indifference, I believe she looked like a cross between Meryl Streep and Joan Crawford - their better features, of course! But it was her mind, the fire in her belly that inspired her to march for Civil Rights with the her infants in the baby buggy, take African American courses, teach in the inner city and work hard as an early feminist. In the inner city where so many where ignored and just passed along, she taught kids to read. A classic case: She got her hyperactive 3rd & 4th graders to stand and taught them the words to Langston Hughes “Dream Boogie”. She knew the poem and recited it so they could hear it. It resonated with them. Snapping their fingers and dancing they quickly memorized it. After all, they were use to memorizing everyday song lyrics just by listening. And it’s a great poem. The next day, she had written it on the board. “Wazat?” they said. ”We’re going to read that”. “We can’t read that!” “Listen first. Join in if you feel like it, but start by snapping you fingers. She read the poem, slowly in rhythm, pointing to every word. Instantly they joined in - actually reading! She made reading relevant. Better than Dick & Jane. Creative, thoughtful, kind, passionate. Heaven has her now. God help them!

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