Larry DiChiara remembers Laurel Blackwell as a “classy, professional lady.”
The two lived across the street from each other in Phenix City when he was Phenix City Schools superintendent and she was president of Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
“We had a great partnership,” said DiChiara, who now lives in Auburn, Ala. “I am going to miss her.”
Blackwell, 64, died Nov. 30.
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The Phenix City woman’s funeral service is Monday at 4 p.m. at Epworth United Methodist Church in Phenix City. Interment will be in Monticello, Iowa at a later date.
According to the family, after being diagnosed with cancer one year ago, she was cancer free but succumbed to complications resulting from pneumonia.
Blackwell was at CVCC from 2003-2010. Before coming to Phenix City she was director of adult education at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Ala., and director of workforce development at Southern Union Community College in Opelika, Ala.
“Laurel was widely respected,” said Bob Jones, former president at Columbus Technical College. “She was just an exceptional person. She came to CVCC when it was going through some times and needed a boost. She gave the school the boost it needed. She never gave up and did her job with dignity.”
Jones said he was also impressed with the ministry work that Blackwell and her husband Fred did following her retirement.
She launched Communities of Transformation, a ministry of the United Methodist Church now in nine communities. The innovative initiative brings together people from every segment of society to elevate families.
Blackwell was a certified facilitator for Spiritual Leadership, Inc., an organization that helps identify and develop leaders in faith-based settings and also a certified trainer for the Georgia Healthy Marriage Initiative.
Among her survivors are her husband, four children and five grandchildren.