In Memory

Sister M. Coleman Nee, IHM

November 14, 1917 – July 9, 2011

Coleman Nee, IHM

Sister M. Coleman Nee, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Saturday, July 9, 2011, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on November 14, 1917, in Taylor, PA, and given the name Nora. She was the daughter of the late Coleman and Nora Hopkins Nee. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1941 and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1944 and her final profession of vows on August 1, 1947.

She earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at Marywood College. Further studies at the doctoral level followed at the University of Notre Dame, Marquette University and the University of Arkansas. She was awarded the Distinguished Pennsylvanian Award in 1980 and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Scranton in 1983.

Sister Coleman served as the 9th president of Marywood College (now Marywood University) from 1970 to 1988. Early in her presidency the Motherhouse, which housed the college for its first decade, was destroyed by a tragic fire on February 22, 1971—the site later commemorated by the Marywood Memorial Commons in 1975. Known as a firm decision-maker and visionary leader, her administration was marked by significant development in academic programming, plant expansion and financial stability. More than 11,000 diplomas from Marywood College bear her name. Sister Coleman continued her decisive leadership of Marywood in the 1980s, culminating eighteen years of unprecedented service as president. Upon her retirement, she was named honorary member of the Board of Trustees of Marywood College.

She had been a member of several boards of directors including the Foundation for Independent Colleges; National Education Association; Scranton Primary Health Care; and Northeastern Child Care Services. She was chairperson of the Planning Council of Department of Education of Pennsylvania, Region III. She also served on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Task Force on Initiatives and was Secretary of the Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

Sister served as a teacher at Marywood Seminary, Scranton, PA, from 1943 to 1955; Marywood College from1959 to 1968; Bishop Hannon High School, Scranton, PA, from 1992 to 2000; and the Education Enrichment Institute at the IHM Center, Scranton, PA, from 2002 to 2004.

She was also the Coordinator of Apostolic Works for the IHM Congregation from 1968 to 1970 and served in Alumni Relations at Marywood College from 1989 to 1992.

From 2004 until the time of her death, Sister Coleman resided at the Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton where she served as a prayer minister.

She was preceded in death by one brother, Coleman J., and four sisters, Sarah Nee (infant), Beatrice Nee Hannon, Rita Ludgate, and Sister M. Augustine Nee, RGS.

She is survived by nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, July 12, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, July 11, between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Tuesday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2011 issue

It was as a young girl attending Marywood Seminary that I first met Sister Coleman. Sister taught Latin, algebra and geometry. The Latin I was able to handle, but the math, at least in my mind, was beyond my grasp. Sister always encouraged me though, and we would have many “math encounters.” Sister was the “BEST” as a teacher, sincerely dedicated to that ministry, humble, and non-assuming, never thinking of her talents as being special. As the years moved on, we kept in contact in various ways and lo and behold, I eventually found myself a faculty member at Marywood, living in Regina Hall with none other than Sister Coleman—then president of Marywood College. Those were wonderful days, and what was so apparent was sister’s great love for community and how she treasured those times. In spite of a day that might have been filled with challenging issues that only the president could handle, sister never missed an opportunity for recreation and chatter to share a fun story, a game of cards, to teach a crochet stitch, or use her dry Irish wit to entertain us in community.

From 1992-2004 sister returned to her beloved teaching. As her health began to fail she turned to prayer ministry, placing all her trust in the Lord whom she had so many years ago embraced. As sister lived her last days at Our Lady of Peace Residence, she suffered the declines associated with aging. She never complained, enduring and accepting all with grace and silence.

Rest in peace, dear sister.

by Joan Paskert, IHM

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