In Memory

Sister M. Anitra Nemotko, IHM

September 17, 1938 – August 1, 2016

Sister M. Anitra Nemotko, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died on Monday, August 1, 2016, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on September 17, 1938 in Dunmore, PA, and given the name Margaret Mary. She was the daughter of the late Anthony J. and Ann Therese Dougherty Nemotko. She entered the IHM Congregation on February 2, 1959, made temporary profession of her vows on August 4, 1961, and final profession of her vows on August 4, 1967.

Sister Anitra served as a teacher and Department Chair at the following schools: St. Mary High School in Manhasset, Long Island, New York from 1961 to 1962; St. Basil High School in Dushore, PA, from 1962 to 1963; Immaculate Conception High School in Lock Haven, PA, from 1963 to 1966; Cathedral/Bishop Hannon High School in Scranton, PA, from 1966 to 1975; Bishop Klonowski High School in Scranton, PA, from 1975 to 1980; and Marywood University from 1980 to 2007. She also served as the IHM Congregation Archivist from 2008 to 2016.

Sister received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Marywood College, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Villanova University and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was awarded a Doctoral Fellowship. She held memberships and made conference presentations at several learned societies which included the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAA), the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). She was also a member of the Archivists of Congregations of Women Religious (ACWR) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Board memberships included the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) and St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton, PA.

Sister Anitra was an Associate Professor of Biology at Marywood University, and was awarded Faculty Emerita status in 2014.

She is survived by several cousins, and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

There will be no viewing and the funeral will be private. Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, c/o IHM Center Development Office, 2300 Adams Avenue Scranton, PA 18509 and to Marywood University at 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.


Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Anitra Nemotko, Funeral August 2016

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3: 13

There are many words that come to mind when I think about Anitra: integrity; dedicated; creative; intelligent; caring; and so many more, but I think that line from St. James captures her best. Anitra was one of the most gifted people I’ve ever met, and also one of the most unassuming. In her application for emerita status at Marywood University, she was required to include a comprehensive list of services rendered to the university. I was amazed to read her list, which covered over four 8 1/2 by 11” sheets of paper – which actually included only her contributions to the science department, not any made to the other numerous committees or activities she worked on while at the university. But we would never know all that from any conversation with Anitra herself. To know her was to know that she was never about herself, always about others. In fact, I’m sure she’s getting ready to pull the plug on this mic from up in heaven to keep me from saying any more about her! Our sister, teacher, scientist, colleague, mentor, archivist, and friend would much prefer, I think, that we remember her, not for all her accomplishments, but for who she was as a faithful Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The truth is Anitra was a gracious and gentle person, kind, with a wonderful smile and a very dry but quick sense of humor, a deep thinker and person of prayer with great devotion to St. Anne, a person we were blessed to call sister and friend.

Throughout her fifty-six years of religious life, Anitra dedicated herself to the art and profession of teaching with infinite passion. She taught science at high schools in Manhasset, Dushore, Lock Haven, and Scranton, and at each of these schools, she left a tradition of excellence, caring, and generous commitment. She brought those same qualities to her beloved Marywood University, where she taught for twenty-seven years. A superb teacher, Anitra was praised throughout her career by students and teaching colleagues alike for her clear, down-to-earth presentations and instructions and her attentive and compassionate regard for her students. She taught not only by word but by example as well.

For the last eight years, Anitra served as the Congregation Archivist. It should be no surprise that Anitra brought the same commitment and energy for research, innovation, and organization to her new endeavor as she had in the classroom. Her research and knowledge were invaluable in the planning and design of the Heritage Hall project at the IHM Center. Her many outstanding archival focus projects, such as the series on the “IHM Years of Consecrated Life,” her Founders’ Day presentations, and many others were creative and professional, and served to illustrate and educate us about our history. Archivists from other congregations and universities came to her for help and advice because they knew she was the best.

In reflecting upon Anitra’s life, I am struck by the awesome mystery and vulnerability of the precious gift of life itself. Her diagnosis a few short months ago was not expected, but she faced it with courage, faith, and awareness that this journey is really what our life here on earth is all about. She never doubted God’s presence in this journey. Even in her dying, she was the consummate teacher.

We remember very specially today Anitra’s parents, Ann and Anthony, and other relatives and friends who have gone before her and with whom she is celebrating a joyous reunion in heaven today.

We pray for those people whose lives were touched by Anitra’s compassion and dedication, especially her cousins and their families, her Band members, her Marywood University friends, her IHM sisters, especially Angelique, and all who lived and ministered with her. We pray in a special way for Jan and Sisters Eleanor, Michel, and Kathleen, who worked with her in the Archives Office. We hold in our prayer, too, the administrators, sisters and staff at Our Lady of Peace and Sacred Heart Hospice.

In a eulogy given at her mother’s funeral, Anitra remarked that every day when she would leave in the morning to teach, her mother would say, “So long and thank you for everything.” When she returned home after teaching, her mother would greet her with, “I missed
you and I’m so happy you’re home.” So today, we repeat those same words as we say, “So long, Anitra, and thank you for everything. We will miss you, but we’re happy that you’re home.”

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