Our beloved Constance "Connie" G. Carley lost her battle with Cancer and departed to be with her Heavenly Father. Connie was born on February 14, 1950, in Monroe, Louisiana. Connie's family was one of three families that integrated North Seattle amid the civil rights movement. Her upbringing inspired her steadfast commitment and dedication to Black youth, families, and the arts. Connie graduated from Washington State University with a degree in sociology and a psychology minor. She moved to Portland in 1984.
Connie spent over 35 years dedicated to youth development and services. She retired in 2016 from the State of Oregon – Oregon Commission Children and Families (OCCF). She cared about the youth of color, particularly those facing life challenges. She was involved in several community initiatives focused on the well-being of Black children and families. She was one of the founders of Black Women of Peace, a non-profit dedicated to empowering youth, celebrating culture, and promoting peace.
Her humble legacy will forever live on at PassinArt: A Theatre Company, established in 1982 and co-founded by Connie Carley, Clarice Bailey, Ph.D., and Michael Grant. The name, PassinArt means passing on art, history, and culture from one generation to the next, which embodies Connie's life mission. Working closely with Jerry Foster, who joined the organization in 1995 as its Artist Director, and Connie as Managing Director, continue to provide opportunities for Black actors, playwrights, directors, costume designers, and other theatrical personnel to hone their craft. Foster says, "for more than 25 years, Connie and I worked together to sustain PassinArt, the oldest, continuously operating Black Theatre Company in Oregon. Her leadership, wisdom, and friendship were integral to our success".
In 1990, at 40, Connie became an advocate for breast cancer awareness after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. In 2013, she co-founded the Sister Network of Oregon & SW Washington (SNOR&SWA), dedicated to educating the Black community about breast cancer risk within the Black community.
Connie was a faithful member of Mount Olivet Baptist Church and was part of the greeter ministry. She is preceded in death by her parents, Alice and Richard Carley. She leaves behind a beloved sister, Siobhan Brooks, Ph.D., a sibling 'n' law, Alejandra Luna, several members of the Carley family, and longstanding friends from all walks of life.
Connie, your beautiful smile and loving heart will be missed!
Connie's Celebration of Life will be held at Alberta Abby on August 20, 2022, at 2:00 pm. The Alberta Abby is located at 126 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211. In place of flowers, please consider donating to PassinArt: A Theatre Company Living Legacy Fund.