In Memoriam


(1936-2020)

Many Detroit residents know well two of the city’s landmarks: the Fisher Building, topped by its “golden tower,” and the Fox Theater. Sister Betty Gibbons’ father had a key role in both buildings’ construction.

“My father, Eugene Joseph Gibbons, was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1905,” her autobiography begins. “He graduated from the University of Detroit with a degree in Civil Engineering and was the managing engineer during the construction of the Fisher Building and Fox Theater in Detroit. A year later this engineering company closed due to the Depression.”

Elizabeth Gibbons, always known as Betty, was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, on November 26, 1936, to Eugene and Marie (Baribault) Gibbons. Marie was born in France in 1906, but after her mother died when Marie was just three years old, her father, Betty’s grandfather, sent the children to live with relatives in Quebec, Canada. He eventually followed, and the family came to Detroit when Marie was fifteen. She and Eugene married in 1929, just before the Great Depression hit.

After the Depression cost Eugene his engineering job, he went to work for Sears, Roebuck and Company, and when he was promoted to management the family moved to the Chicago area, where the company’s headquarters was. By that time, Betty had two younger siblings: Eugene Louis and Marilyn, known as “Mickey.” Another sister, Claire, was born in Oak Park, Illinois.

Read more about Sister Elizabeth (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

 

 

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(1933-2020)

“I have been blessed in so many ways and for this, I am grateful.” 

These words concluded Sister Carolyn Nelson’s story of her life, a life which began on January 21, 1933, in Chicago. She was the only child of Edward and Virginia (Schuster) Nelson, but after her father’s sudden death and her mother’s remarriage, she was eventually blessed with a younger sister, Judy, when Carolyn was sixteen years old, and with another sibling whom her parents adopted when Carolyn went to the convent. “My mother and (I don’t like the word) step-father decided that they didn’t want Judy to grow up alone as I had,” she said in her autobiography.

Edward owned a business that often took him on the train between Chicago and Denver. One day he was on the train when his appendix ruptured, and although he made it back to Chicago and a hospital, it was too late to save him. Carolyn was just two years old.

Virginia and her little daughter moved to Detroit to live with Virginia’s parents. The family lived in St. Ambrose Parish, and Carolyn attended the parish school from first grade through high school. Her mother remarried, to Joseph Francis Malley, when Carolyn was six years old.

Read more about Sister Carolyn (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 

 

Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).

 


(1931-2020)

Vero Beach, Florida, was the birthplace – and the site of a very happy childhood – for Viola Mary Eckhoff, who would go on to become Sister Imelda Marie.

Viola Mary was the fourth child, and the third girl, born to Joseph and Viola (Dothage) Eckhoff on October 24, 1931. Her older siblings were Marilyn, Evelyn, and Joe, with Carole the youngest in the family. 

Sister Imelda recalled in her 2019 “A Sister’s Story” video that Vero Beach had much open land in those days, and she and the other children spent much of their time hiking as well as fishing and swimming, They were good times, she recalled, even if her childhood did come during the Great Depression and the family did not have much.

At Christmas, she wrote in her autobiography, each child would get one present, and for the Christmas when she was perhaps three years old, all the girls got dolls and Joe got a ball. As the family would later tell the story, “I cried and said I didn’t want a dolly, I wanted a ball. Daddy went out on Christmas Day to find me a ball.”

Read more about Sister Imelda (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 

Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).


(1927-2020)

May you now rest in God’s loving arms.
Eternal rest grant unto you, Sister Barbara Gass, and
May eternal light be yours forever.

These words concluded the eulogy that Sister Joanne Peters, Co-Chapter Prioress of the Holy Rosary Chapter, gave for Sister Barbara Gass, a scientist by training, a musician by gift, and a woman of deep, abiding faith in her God.

Barbara Cathryn Gass was born on March 13, 1927, in Wyandotte, Michigan, to Gerald and Cecelia (Sack) Gass. She was the couple’s third child of four, following Dolores and Gerald Jr. and before Mary Louise, who like Barbara became an Adrian Dominican Sister.

Gerald was originally from Portland, Michigan, while Cecelia was born in Toledo, Ohio. Cecelia’s family later moved to Adrian, where she attended St. Joseph School and after completing grade school attended St. Joseph Academy as a day student in the secretarial program. When she graduated from the two-year program, she went to work as a secretary for the Adrian Fence Company – where Gerald happened to work as well.

Read more about Sister Barbara (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 

Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).


Cemetery of the Adrian Dominican Sisters

Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance. 


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