Chicago (CBS) — Every Sunday, music fills the Christian Fellowship Worship Center in La Porte, Indiana.
Singing is a way to pray twice, and prayers are needed for the congregation.
It’s the first service without choir director Dr. Tamara O’Neal.
Pastor Lashawn O’Neal is struggling with the loss of his missing conductor
“She was always putting her heart into everything,” the pastor said.
Dr. O’Neal was his sister. She died at the hands of her ex-fiance as she was leaving her shift at Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Monday.
Her father said he never saw any red flags.
The O’Neals are turning to their faith to get them through, inviting CBS 2 into the place “Tammy” made a three-hour round trip week after week.
“She loved God,” her mother Glenda O’Neal said. “She loved life. She loved people. She lived that life for the Lord.”
And because of that, the devout Christian made a deal with hospital higher-ups.
“Her priority was first that she would request Sundays off,” Tom O’Neal, Dr. O’Neal’s father, said. “‘I’ll work the schedules. I’ll do whatever I have to do, but I need my Sundays off’.”
Donations made to the church in Dr. O’Neal’s name will be used for ministry work.
“If anybody really wants to honor her, love one another,” her mother said.
As Glenda’s musically and medically talented daughter knew, songs can help heal.
Dr. O’Neal’s wake is scheduled for Thursday and her funeral for Friday. Both will take place in La Porte.