CASSANDRA BLEAU: AUG. 12, 1948 | NOV. 24, 2013

Hammond woman human rights champion

2013-12-20T00:05:00Z Hammond woman human rights championCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent
December 20, 2013 12:05 am  • 

Cassandra Bleau answered to a higher calling by dedicating her life to helping those less fortunate than her.

"She was a pretty strong woman, righteous and loving," said her daughter, Maggie Bleau, adding that she applied those virtues to everyone she met.

Cassandra Bleau, 65, of Hammond, died on Nov. 24.

"She was a very loving mother," her daughter said.

She always stood up for those who she loved, Maggie Bleau said, recalling how she once helped a neighbor boy having problems.

She even set up a bed in their home for him, her daughter noted.

All of the neighbor kids had a place at her table and a place to sleep if needed, Maggie Bleau said of the woman they affectionately called "Ma Bleau."

Bleau was also the owner of Harkin Realty, a business started by her family many years ago, Maggie Bleau said.

She noted that, after the recent recession, her mother helped many people save their homes.

Bleau cherished and kept the many thank you cards she received from those people, her daughter said.

"We did some traveling together," Maggie Bleau said, adding that they were accompanied by her sister, Sarah Levin and their brother, Michael.

Destinations included Florida, Mexico, Portugal and France.

Bleau also was a longtime member of the Hammond Human Relations Commission.

"She was very active on the commission," said fellow member Lynn Bloom.

She said Bleau believed in equality for people and served diligently to help them.

Commission Chairman Ron Mullins said Bleau, Bloom and commissioner Jean Ishmon, all taught him how to protect a person's civil rights and how to investigate fair housing complaints when he joined up.

"Sandy was very passionate about it," Mullins said with admiration.

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