ONLINE
JANUARY 12, 2004
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.

BISHOP
VIGNERON

 

 

 

OBITUARIES

Brother Celestine R. Cormier, FSC
Christian Brother Celestine R. Cormier, who taught at De La Salle High School in Concord, died in Napa Dec. 26 at the age of 91. He had been a Christian Brother for 72 years.

A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, he spent much of his career as teacher, school administrator and supervisor for school construction for the Brothers’ schools in California and Oregon.

He was founding principal at La Salle High School in Pasadena (1956-62). His inspiration brought automotive and other shop classes to Cathedral High School in Los Angeles.

He was involved for many years in the theater and drama departments in the schools were he was assigned, with his artistic talents seen in the sets he designed and built for the schools’ productions.

At De La Salle High, where he taught from 1969-82 and from 1983-87, the theater is named in his honor.

He retired in 1987 at at Mont La Salle in Napa.

Survivors include his sister, Mary Cunningham, brother James, sister-in-law Marge, nephews and nieces.

The funeral Mass was held Jan. 2 at Mont La Salle; burial followed at the Brothers’ Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be made to the Lasallian Education Fund, De La Salle Institute, 4401 Redwood Road, Napa.

Sister Joan Marie Donohoe, SNDdeN
Sister Joan Marie Donohoe, an educator and administrator at Notre Dame High School in San Francisco and in Notre Dame elementary schools throughout California, died Dec. 9 at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. She had been a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur for 74 years.

The San Francisco native taught at public schools in San Francisco before joining the Notre Dame Sisters in 1929. After earning her doctoral degree in history at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., she worked as a professor of history and dean at Notre Dame de Namur University (formerly College of Notre Dame) in Belmont.

“She came from a family of stone-cutters, but in her teaching she was like Michaelangelo,” said Hugh Donohoe, her nephew at the Dec. 15 funeral Mass at the university chapel. “She didn’t hammer away; she found the image within each student and brought out the beauty of the person.”

After her academic career, Sister Donohoe taught in the religious education program at St. Anthony Mission in Pescadero and led adult Scripture study groups at Mt. Carmel Parish in Redwood City, Mercy Center in Burlingame and at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Belmont.

She retired to Notre Dame Villa in Saratoga in 1994 and later moved to Oakland’s Mercy Retirement and Care Center.

Two of her sisters were also religious, two brothers were Jesuit priests and another brother is the late Bishop Hugh Donohoe of Stockton.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Retirement Fund, 1520 Ralston Ave., Belmont, CA 94002.

Sister Marie McDonald, OP
Sister Marie Brigid McDonald, a former teacher at All Saints School in Hayward, died Jan. 4 in Santa Cruz. She was 80 and in the 57th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Brigid taught at All Saints from 1947-53 and for two years at an elementary school in Florida. For 44 years she worked as a nurse and administrator at her community’s hospitals in Santa Cruz and Henderson, Nevada. She had a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Catholic University of America and a master’s in psychiatric nursing from UCLA.

The funeral Mass was held Jan. 10 at Holy Rosary Chapel in Adrian, Mich. Burial was in the Congregation cemetery.

Brother Daniel Joseph O’Connor, FSC
Christian Brother Daniel Joseph O’Connor, who served in numerous roles for the community’s District of San Francisco, died Dec. 29 in Napa. He was 80 and had been Christian Brother for 61 years.

A native of County Kerry, Ireland, taught at Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco from 1946-56, at Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield from 1956-59, at Bishop Armstrong High School in Sacramento from 1962-66, and at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno. From 1988-2003 he served as a part-time counselor at Justin-Siena High School in Napa.

Survivors include two sisters, Patricia Jerrold of Rialto and Bridget Nisbet of St. Charles, MO, and several nieces and nephews.

The funeral Mass was held Jan. 2 at Mont La Salle Chapel in Napa, followed by burial in the Brothers’ Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Lasallian Education Fund, De La Salle Institute, 4401 Redwood Road, Napa, CA 94558.

Sister Monica Perry, SNJM
Holy Names Sister Monica Perry, who served as a teacher and librarian in elementary and secondary schools in the Oakland Diocese, died Nov. 27 in Los Gatos. She was 86 and has been a vowed religious for 68 years.
A native of San Francisco, she entered the novitiate of the Holy Names Sisters at Lake Merritt in Oakland in 1933.

Sister Perry, also known as Sister Mary Dorothea, spent 26 years as an elementary school teacher and principal. She was principal at St. Francis de Sales School in Oakland and St. Bede School in Hayward.

She was founding principal at St. Ignatius School in the Sacramento Diocese and principal at All Souls School in Alhambra. She also worked at St. Monica School in San Francisco.

Sister Perry received a master’s degree from the Catholic University of America, West Coast Branch, at Dominican College. Her thesis chronicled the educational contributions of the Holy Names Sisters in California. It formed the basis for understanding how a diocesan school department could further the work of Catholic education. She subsequently served in the new department of education for the Oakland Diocese.

During the 1960s, she served as a member of the California Province Leadership of the Holy Names Sisters. She became a librarian at Oakland’s Holy Names High School in 1974 and served there for 18 years. In 1998 she retired to the Los Gatos convent, where she resided until her death.

The funeral Mass was held Dec. 10 at the Convent of the Holy Names in Los Gatos and burial was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward. Donations in Sister Perry’s memory may be made to the Ministry Fund, Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031.

Sister Mary Anne Thatcher, SNJM
Holy Names Sister Mary Anne Thatcher, a teacher and administrator for 20 years at Oakland’s Holy Names College, died Dec. 3 in Los Gatos. She was 80 and had been a vowed religious for 57 years.

Her family moved to Oakland from Portland, Oregon, shortly after her birth. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Holy Names College in Oakland and a masters of arts degree and her Ph.D. in history at University of California Los Angeles.

She was a “foundress” at Marin Catholic High School, where she also served as registrar and prefect of studies. She also taught at St. Monica High School in Santa Monica, St. Andrew High School in Pasadena, and Ramona Convent High School in Alhambra.

After teaching in those high school, Sister Thatcher began a 20-year ministry at Holy Names College in Oakland where she taught and served as graduate dean and executive assistant to the president. In 1992 she became the provincial secretary of the Holy Names Sisters in Los Gatos, a position she held until her death.

The funeral Mass was held Dec. 10 at the Convent of the Holy Names in Los Gatos and burial was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward. Donations in her memory may be made to the Ministry Fund, Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031.