The renaming was approved by the city council in honor of Oneal Leon Chube Jr. who was born on June 29, 1921 in St. Francisville, La. and was a respected educator, administrator, mentor and football coach in Franklin.
Chube attended Grambling College (now Grambling State University) and graduated from Southern University in 1948. He began his career in Franklin at Willow Street High School in 1949. In 1950, he established the football program at Willow Street High School and was the football coach and athletic director. In 1964, Chube began his tenure at Park Avenue High School as athletic director and head coach. Chube’s coaching record from 1950-1969 stands as 134 wins, 48 losses and 11 ties.
Both Willow Street and Park Avenue schools were attended by African-American students prior to integration.
In 1970, public schools in Franklin merged due to integration, and Chube was assistant principal at Franklin Senior High School until 1979.
When Chube retired he moved his family to Gary, Indiana, and became the manager of his brother’s medical practice — Chube Medical Corp. In 1992, Chube retired again and moved to New Orleans with his wife Merian Clara Messiah Chube, where they planned to live out the rest of their days. However, Hurricane Katrina forced the couple to move back to Indiana in August 2005.
Before Chube began his career in St. Mary Parish, he was a member of the United States Army from Nov. 16, 1942 to Nov. 4, 1945. He was a part of the Normandy invasion and participated in four other campaigns: Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. Chube was awarded five battle stars and received an honorable discharge in 1945.
Chube served his country and his community. For his students, Chube was more than their football coach and teacher. Former students attended a special city council hearing on Nov. 15, 2011, to voice their opinions on the ordinance to change the name of Fourth Street to Oneal Chube Street and to submit their anecdotes of their time as Chube’s students and football players. At that meeting, former students said Chube taught them more than academics and athletics; he trained them to be ladies and gentlemen.
During his lifetime, Chube was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., a Boy Scout troop leader, a member of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Gary, Indiana, New Orleans Pontchartrain Kiwanis and St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church of New Orleans.
As a young man, Chube worked at Baton Rouge Country Club and Westdale Country Club as a caddy. He was a caddy for some famous golfers: Freddie Haas, Maci Cole, Paul Leslie and Indiana Zecharian. His love of the sport was directly related to his job as a caddy.
In high school, Chube was captain of the football team. At Grambling College he was a member of Eddie Robinson’s undefeated 1942 team. Chube and his brother visited Coach Robinson in the Grambling Tigers’ locker room in the Superdome and to congratulate Coach Robinson on becoming the “‘winningest’ coach ever.” According to the brothers, Coach Robinson never forgot them, and upon seeing them, called them “the Chube brothers.”
Chube was a husband, father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was married to Merion Clara Messiah Chube for 60 years. The two of them had four children, Frank Elton Chube, Janice Chube Moore, Renee Chube Washington and Majella Chube Hamilton. Their children gave them eight grandchildren, and those grandchildren gave them five great-grandchildren.
On March 18, 2010, Chube had a heavenly reunion with his wife, parents and several siblings.
Former students from Willow Street High, Park Avenue High and Franklin Senior High and friends are asked to celebrate Chube’s legacy and to share their memories with his family when Fourth Street is renamed Oneal Chube Street Saturday at 1 p.m. The ceremony will take place on the corner of Fourth and Willow streets. A reception will follow the ceremony in the cafeteria of Franklin Junior High School.