Cover photo for Sister Jeanne Koehler, Phjc's Obituary
Sister Jeanne Koehler, Phjc Profile Photo
1917 Sister 2018

Sister Jeanne Koehler, Phjc

December 31, 1917 — January 22, 2018

Sister Jeanne (Rita) Koehler, PHJC died peacefully on January 22, 2018 at the Catherine Kasper Home in Donaldson, Indiana.

Sister Jeanne loved life and dancing. As a young girl she dreamed of becoming a world-famous dancer. Throughout her childhood, she appeared on stage tapping her way into the hearts of the many audiences she entertained. In later life she said, “I see so clearly how I’m still dancing for God. A dancer not on a worldly stage, but a spiritual one.”

Sister Jeanne was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 31, 1917 to Edward and Anna (Putz) Koehler who preceded her in death along with her siblings Joseph, Carol, Frances (Michalzuk), Edward, Charles, and Dorothy (O’Malley). Her sister Marlene (Mickie) Meyer survives along with her sisters-in-law Florence and Bernice and brother-in-law Emil Meyer. Sister Jeanne counted many friends in her extended family.

On September 2, 1935, she entered the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Congregation in Donaldson, Indiana and professed her first vows on June 25, 1938. This year she was celebrating 80 years as a Poor Handmaid. On December 30, 2017 Sister Jeanne celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at the Catherine Kasper Home.

Sister Jeanne began her teaching career at St. Monica School in Mishawaka, IN in 1938. She continued teaching at St. Boniface, Edwardsville, IL; St. Joseph, Mishawaka; St. Catherine of Siena, Hammond, IN; Mater Dei High School, Breese, IL; Angel Guardian Orphanage, Chicago; Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne; and finished her teaching career at Ancilla College, Donaldson, IN as an instructor and coordinator of campus ministry in 2000. During her career, she opened three new schools and remarked, “I love challenges and I had them.” For her 60-year jubilee, Sister Jeanne said, “For 60 years I have been a teacher and I still love it. From a first grade teacher to a college professor, I feel I have been an enthusiastic instrument of God’s love and caring.” Sister Jeanne received her B.A. in history from Alverno College and her M.A. in Library Science from Rosary College. In 1980, she received her degree in Pastoral Studies. From 1980-1982 she ministered at St. Joseph Parish in Mishawaka as a Pastoral Minister and then as a Pastoral Associate at St. Peter in Winamac, IN from 1982-1989. In 1989 Sister Jeanne returned to the Motherhouse as a program assistant at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center. In addition, she was a spiritual director.

Sister Jeanne officially retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2012.

Visitation will be held at the Catherine Kasper Home in Donaldson, IN on Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 4:30 – 8:00 EST. A Prayer Service will be held that same evening 7:00 p.m. EST The Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at Catherine Kasper Home on Friday, January 26, 2018 at 11:15 a.m. EST.

Burial will follow in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Donaldson, IN. Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, Indiana 46513.
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