In Memoriam


Marguerite Lawler was born in Newfoundland, Canada, on September 9, 1932. She loved living near the ocean with her parents. Marguerite’s father was a commercial fisherman who tragically was lost at sea when Marguerite was only one. Her mother remarried a kind and wonderful man, Ernest DeVine, and she grew up in a loving home.

Marguerite entered the Sisters of Charity when she was 17 and taught at a First Nation Reservation in Canada. After 17 years she left the convent and moved to Detroit.

Marguerite became a computer programmer in the early years of computers and married William Lawler, who was 25 years older than she. They enjoyed 25 years of marriage, including living in Arkansas for a time.

After her husband’s death, Marguerite moved back to Michigan and in time began to work at Holy Family parish in accounting. She became very involved in parish ministries and volunteered in Hospice programs and outreach. Bright and bubbly, Marguerite made friends easily.

Marguerite met Sister Ann Petri, OP, and became interested in Associate Life.  She made a commitment to the Dominican Charism on May 25, 2010. Marguerite attended many Associate gatherings and was fun-loving and pleasant.

Marguerite had a love for the vulnerable and compassion for the needy. She was fiercely loyal and thoroughly enjoyed being with her grandchildren.

In the past few years Marguerite had many health challenges, which led to her death on March 6, 2022.

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Frances Mildred Gagne was born on January 18, 1929, in Detroit, to a large and loving family. As the oldest girl, she was called “the engineer,” while her youngest sister Bonnie became “the caboose.” She died on February 6, 2022, at the age of 93.

Frances entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation at age 20 and remained there for 30 years. She was a teacher and, in time was principal of St. Scholastica of Detroit, a ministry she continued after leaving the Congregation.

Frances never married or had children. When asked why she left the Congregation, she explained that she felt called to care for her parents as they grew older and needed assistance. This she did until both of them died.

The center of her big family, Frances was extremely devoted to her brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. One of her greatest joys was her cottage on Lake Huron. She would invite her guests to swim with her by saying, “Come on in, the water is warm – like bath water!” It really was not.

Frances was a firm but loving principal and several of her former students wrote about her on her memorial page. Many entries spoke of the warm welcome she gave each student. According to her family and the priest who delivered the funeral homily, Frances made it her special mission to empower young girls and would usually take the side of the girls in any dispute against the boys.

She was the cherished sister of the late Harvey (Shirley) Gagne, the late Roger Gagne, Joan (the late Richard) Lyons, Roberta (Raymond) Kamm, the late Carl Gagne, the late Lorna Gagne, the late Joseph (Susan) Gagne, Ronald (Karen) Gagne, Kathleen (Mike) DeNeen, and Bonnie (Paul) Crawley. She was also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Frances liked to have fun. She was involved with several outreach ministries to the poor. Her pastor, Father Randall Phillips, remarked, “Frances wore the Baptismal cloth well and was dedicated to the poor. She thought globally and acted locally."

The memorial Mass for Frances on March 2 was packed. She was so very loved and joy-filled. Frances’ parting words to all of us are captured in a popular poem, author unknown, published on many memorial cards.

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Associate Kathleen Unti gave much of her time, love, and energy to people in her family, her community, and the hospices where she volunteered. 

Kathy was born on July 7, 1944, in Detroit, the youngest child of William and Frances (Brinker) McCarty. She joined her sister Patricia and her brother William. Kathy attended St. Matthew School and Dominican High School, where she met the Adrian Dominican Sisters. By the time she was in high school, Pat had entered the Congregation. 

A student at the University of Detroit, Kathy married Walt Unti. They moved to Ann Arbor, where she began a career as a dental hygienist. Walt and Kathy had three children, now married with families of their own: Patricia (Robert) Healy, Michael (Evangeline), and Susan Yingling. Kathy and Walt are blessed with seven grandchildren. 

As their children were growing up, the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Kathy enrolled at Aquinas College. She graduated in 1985 and established a real estate firm there. She led a busy life of family, work, and faith.

Kathy was called to the vocation of hospice volunteer. She volunteered at hospices for the next 35 years: in Sonoma, California, where she also volunteered as a docent and took fifth-graders on hikes in the mountains; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Easton, Maryland. 

Kathy was especially close to her sister, supporting and comforting her during treatments for cancer in 1998. This strengthened the bonds between the sisters.

Called to the Dominican charism, Kathy joined Associate Life on July 7, 2006, mentored by María Romero, OP. She loved being part of this group and faithfully submitted her annals. She shared her compassion through hospice and in any way she was needed. Kathy was a lifelong learner, interested in many things. She gave generously of her time and talent. 

The past few years have been very challenging for Kathy and her family. Her son-in-law Craig Yingling died in 2019. She fought cancer herself while being concerned with the health of her sister Pat, who died in 2021. Even though Kathy and Walt lived in Maryland, her funeral took place at the Blessed Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. May she rest in peace.

View Kathleen's obituary.

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John Coleman was born on November 22, 1934, in Detroit. The son of James Anthony and Susan (Wooton) Coleman, he was the youngest of five children. John’s parents were born and raised near Glasgow, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. John said that he received a “strict Catholic upbringing.”

John spent two years in the U.S. Coast Guard and more than 40 years in the Coast Guard Reserves. He married Carol Salet in 1971. They would have celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. Their two grown children, Michael and Ellen, have families of their own. Sadly, Michael died several years ago.

Always active in the Catholic Church, John served as a Eucharistic Minister and brought Communion to the housebound from his parish, Divine Child, in Dearborn, Michigan.

After 30 years as a manufacturer’s consultant for Ford, John retired and the couple moved to Adrian. John became acquainted with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, attending events at Weber Center and Sunday liturgy and Peace Prayer at the Motherhouse.  

After studying with his mentor, Sister Rita Brunett, OP, John joined Associate Life on November 21, 2004. He faithfully attended many Associate events, including book club and Partners, as well as Mission Group meetings.  

John took his faith life seriously and followed the pathways of the Congregation, especially in learning to care for the Earth. He was a devoted recycler.
With his marvelous skill at making candy, John eventually put a professional kitchen in his home and made chocolate treats that were sold at the Weber Shop and as wedding favors and gifts. He specialized in homemade marshmallows, covering them with chocolate.  

John also devoted much of his time to social justice and Christian Service organizations, such as the Daily Bread soup kitchen, the Lenawee Conservation District, and the Humane Society. He was a generous, loving man who enjoyed a corny joke and brightened our lives.

The last few years were challenging as John suffered from diabetes and dementia. His devoted wife, Carol, took meticulous care of him. John died on April 13, 2021. May he rest in peace.


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