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PASSAGES: Ketty Teanga
News updated Sept. 19, 2011
by Jerry Nunn
2011-09-21

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Ketty Teanga, known to many as Circuit nightclub regular "Miss Ketty", died Sept. 15 at Loyola University Hospital of unknown causes. She was 64.

Ketty Teanga was born in Ecuador on March 22, 1947. She moved to New York City when she was about 16 before arriving in Chicago during the '70s. She was largely known for performing at Circuit Nightclub with the longest running promotion the venue has had aptly named La Noche Loca for 15 years.

While she could be abrasive on the microphone with her off color humor she was extremely private. Her health had been failing for the last year of her life and was forced to be placed on dialysis. Jim Flint from the Baton told the story of traveling with her to Puerto Rico and even though she was hooked to a dialysis machine all day she never complained and was at the clubs to give an incredible show at night.

The Association for Latino Men for Action gave Miss Ketty the ALMA Community Leadership Award in 1998. Julio Rodriguez from the group stated, "ALMA gave her the award for being a pioneer in the Latina trans community, because so many people had identified her as someone who helped them get resources, especially because in those days, it was pretty dangerous. She housed a lot of people, she did a lot of HIV/AIDS education informally."

She was recently crowned by Chicago's Puerto Rican organization Paseo Boricua. They honored her for everything she did for the Latino community and being a staple in the Chicago area for so many years.

Her sister Miriam and her ex partner Carlos of 19 years were at her bedside for the last few hours as they unplugged life support at Loyola University Hospital on September 15 at 11:45 pm. Cause of death was kidney failure.

Her Latina review all paid respects with a huge benefit for her funeral this past Sunday night where tips filled large buckets. Her assistant Tony said, "It was just perfect, all the girls were there." It was plain to see a new generation of performers that have been inspired by her. Entertainer Cyon Flare mentioned, "Ketty brought me to the Latino community. I owe her for that."

Paul Lopez, who hosted the evening's tribute, said, "Because I met her when I was a teenager and given the fact that I was abandoned as a teenager she truly was my mother. For the last 22 years she was there for me as a mother would be and I really will miss her very much. She taught me a lot about shows and a lot about life. I can honestly say that I am a better man today thanks to her."

Miss Ketty was known for performing Rocia Dorcal's "Amor Eterno" which is fitting as she will always be in the hearts of the people she performed for week after week.

Services will be held from 2 pm to 8 pm at Caribe Funeral Home, 3314 N Armitage, Sept 22.


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