Flushing native, artist dies after 10-year cancer battle

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Carolyn O'Meally McKeown, a Flushing native, died Jan. 16 after a long struggle with breast cancer. She was 40.

McKeown grew up in the Pomonok Houses and showed a talent for art at a young age, said her mother, Millicent Chisolm O'Meally.

She graduated from the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and attended SUNY Buffalo, St. John's University and New York University.

McKeown illustrated a catalog for a sweater design firm and wrote an essay for Essence magazine.

McKeown married Richard Wesley McKeown, also a native of Flushing, in 1995. The two lived in Hamden, Conn.

In 1992, McKeown lost a breast to cancer, and much of her life from that point on was spent fighting the disease.

Despite her struggles, McKeown kept a positive attitude and "was always concerned about those whose suffering appeared greater than hers," her mother said.

"She was never one for wanting to be felt sorry for," her mother said. "She had a strong belief in God. She always looked toward the future."

McKeown helped in the efforts to name a Flushing street for Port Authority Officer Clinton Davis Sr., a junior high school classmate who was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

McKeown saw Lance Armstrong, the bicyclist who went on to win the Tour de France four times after recovering from cancer, as a hero.

McKeown was the daughter of Arthur O'Meally, an engineer and vice president of operations of the Queens Historical Society. Her mother is a member of Community Board 7 and officer of the Lewis H. Latimer Fund.

McKeown is also survived by her husband, her brother, Arthur Francis O'Meally, and two nieces, Jennelle and Simone.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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