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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2003

Nurse among first on state aging panel

FREMONT - Sister Rosemary Fortman, former administrator of St. Bernardine Home and a member of the Ohio Commission on Aging, died Sunday at St. Bernardine Home here. She was 91.

The cause of death was not known, but she had heart problems, said Sister Rose Olibieri, director of St. Bernardine Home.

In 1970, after overseeing the construction of the St. Bernardine Home here, Sister Rosemary became its first administrator, Sister Rose said.

She was one of the first 12 members appointed to the Ohio Commission on Aging, serving from 1973 to 1975.

After Sister Rosemary left the commission, she received personal letters of thanks for her contributions from other members, as well as the director and vice president of the commission, Sister Joan Marie Warnement said.

Sister Rosemary was born on Feb. 20, 1912, in Fort Recovery, Ohio. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1931 and made her Profession of Vows on Aug. 15, 1933.

Sister Rosemary graduated from St. Rita's School of Nursing in Lima in 1936. She was a clinical instructor there and in 1937 became an operating room supervisor, Sister Rose said.

In 1950, she graduated from Our Lady of Cincinnati, which later became Edgecliff College.

Sister Rosemary served in many different nursing ministries, at Mercy Hospital, Toledo, St. Charles Hospital, Oregon, and Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, Owensboro, Ky., and as school nurse at McAuley High School, Toledo.

“She was a very caring, a very capable person,” Sister Rose said.

She took her position as a school nurse very seriously, said Sister Joan Marie, who lived with her while she worked at the school.

Sister Rosemary, who retired in 1984, was a great seamstress who made all of her clothes and some quilts, Sister Rose said.

Surviving are her sisters, Lucy Fortman, Dorothy Schoenlein, and Sister Mary Madonna, RSM.

Visitation will be at St. Bernardine Home from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow until the funeral at 4:30 p.m., when a funeral Mass will be offered in the St. Bernardine Chapel. Tributes may be made to the Sisters of Mercy or a charity of the donor's choice.



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