A gregarious woman, lover of church and song, Anne N. Chenault also was a stickler for etiquette and good behavior.
A longtime Hempstead resident and mother of four, Chenault, 98, died quietly Monday in her sleep at home.
"She was definitely a light that shone on the lives of many people," said the Rev. Gloria Nixon-Pone, referring, too, to one of Chenault's favorite songs, "This Little Light of Mine."
Her longtime parishioner also had a keen interest in young people and teaching them how to behave respectfully, said Nixon-Pone, associate pastor of The Congregational Church of South Hempstead, United Church of Christ, where Chenault taught Sunday school and in later years arranged for altar flowers.
"She had a very nice style," but she was also direct, "and there was no mistaking where she stood on an issue," said Kenneth Chenault, chairman and chief executive of American Express Co.
Born Feb. 23, 1914, in Anderson, S.C., the former Anne Naomi Quick moved with her family to Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn in 1931, where she attended Brooklyn College. In 1938, she graduated from the School of Dental Hygiene at Howard University, where she met her future husband, Hortenius Chenault, then studying at the dental school.
After their marriage, the couple moved to Hempstead in 1945, where they set up a dental practice. Anne Chenault also worked for 28 years as a dental hygienist for New York City's health department, retiring in 1979. Her husband died in December 1990.
As the children of medical professionals, son Arthur Chenault, of Great Neck, said he and his siblings were subjected to regular hand and fingernail hygiene checks, and also were expected to be dressed just so.
Even in later life his mother, "a staunch fan" of the likes of Emily Post and Dale Carnegie, would unobtrusively check his hands and attire, said Arthur Chenault, buildings department superintendent for the Village of Hempstead.
Among the organizations to which Anne Chenault also belonged were Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Friends of the Hempstead Library.
She also is survived by daughter Patricia Chenault of Far Rockaway; son Stephan of Brooklyn; sister Mildred Miller of Pikesville, Md.; and four grandchildren.
A wake will be held Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Carl Burnett Funeral Home, 456 S. Franklin St., Hempstead, with a "home going" service Saturday at 11 a.m. at The Congregational Church of South Hempstead, 416 Woodland Dr. Burial will follow at Greenfield Cemetery, Hempstead, with a repast at the church at 1:30 p.m.
Donations may be made to the Anne Chenault Scholarship Fund, Howard University College of Dentistry's Dental Hygiene Program, 2225 Georgia Ave., NW, Suite 901, Washington, D.C., 20059. Attention: Mr. Haki Halisi.