Deep down, she was a soft and gentle soul who brought out the best in others. That softness, not reserved for humankind only, was also extended to animals.

Lisa Elaine Thompson Fenner of Charlotte died October 21, 2011 of congestive heart failure. She was 43 and had been an accountant for T.R. Lawing Co.

She was born to Lula and the late John Thomson in New York City’s Brooklyn borough, along with brothers Michael and the late Perry, who lost his life in the Twin Towers tragedy on September 11, 2001.

Perry had seen the first plane hit the first tower and left the second tower. He left the building, called his wife to tell her he was OK, then was told to go back to work. That’s when the second plane hit.

Needed a change

Lisa had met and in 1994 married Neal Fenner, who had relatives in Charlotte. The couple agreed that they needed a change and in 1995 moved to Charlotte.

Lisa had gone to high school in Brooklyn with Neal’s younger brother but didn’t know Neal until a mutual friend introduced them. He remembers that he took Lisa to a White Castle on their first date. She married him anyway.

“She was a beauty in my eyes,” Neal said. “I was an introvert and she was the opposite, so she brought out my personality by just being around her. She had a great sense of humor and got along with everybody. She was a people person, but a very private person.”

Neighbor Doug Duncan wrote in Lisa’s online memorial, “Lisa was more than our next door neighbor. She was ‘cool people’ and a good friend. It was always a treat to get that trademark laugh of hers. It is that joy that we will treasure in our hearts.”

Friend Kim Osburn said, “Lisa was a very beautiful person, a wonderful friend and brought joy to everyone she met. She cared about the people she loved and was willing to help with anything. Family was a big part of her life.”

Tail tales

Lisa loved animals, Neal said. “Milo” is her ancient cat that he estimated to be about 18 years old. “Brooklyn,” named for her birthplace, is the four-year-old Chinese Sharpei that Neal gave her. The couple had no children, so Lisa recounted to friends her pets’ antics instead.

“I will miss the stories about Neal, Milo and Brooklyn,” former coworker Lori Moose wrote. “You were a great person, kind, loving, funny and most of all blunt. I loved that about you – I never had to worry about what you thought about something.”

Lisa was an accountant and property manager.

“She could always get a decent job,” Neal said. Lisa had also worked for Lincoln Harris and First Colony companies.

She also loved flowers, plants and cooking. Even more, she loved the beach.

“We didn’t have that opportunity to go to the beach in Brooklyn,” Neal said. “We loved to go to Myrtle Beach. The sound of the ocean is magnificent. We really loved North Myrtle Beach and we’d go early or late in the season.”

Family, friends and coworkers will miss Lisa. And, of course, Milo and Brooklyn, her fur-coated babies, will miss her, too.

Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them. Email

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