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Published: Thursday, 10/5/2006

Nun loved children, taught 37 years

Sister Mary Ignacia Puhl, 80, who taught elementary school from the late 1940s into the early 1980s, died Sept. 28 in Flower Hospital from complications of a blood clot.

She celebrated the 60th anniversary of her profession of vows in the Sisters of Notre Dame this summer, and the community marked the occasion with a luncheon, ceremony, and reception.

Her sister, Irene Bourgeois, the only survivor among four siblings, traveled from Flint, Mich., to the Notre Dame Provincial Center in Toledo for the event. Nieces and nephews made a point of attending.

"She was just bubbling," her sister said.

Sister Mary Ignacia was an educator for 37 years, until 1982. Her last assignment was at Mary Immaculate School in Toledo, where she assisted in intermediate and upper grades.

She taught fifth and sixth grades mostly, and her assignments included St. Mary School, Sandusky; St. Paul School, Norwalk, Ohio; St. John School, Delphos, Ohio; St. Joseph School, Fremont; St. Augustine School, Napoleon, and Sacred Heart and Holy Rosary schools, both in Toledo.

"She related well to the fifth and sixth graders she had," Sister Mary Patricia Snyder said. "Children referred to her as a fun teacher."

Her sister said: "She just loved children. A lot of them have kept in contact with her through the years. She was just down-to-earth."

Sister Mary Ignacia left teaching for health reasons but took it upon herself to help sisters in the Health Care Center who were more ill.

She made popcorn for sisters as they watched television together in their community, and she was known for making sure pitchers were kept full of ice water at meals.

"She herself was one of the most generous and outgoing people," Sister Mary Patricia said. "Wherever there was a need, there she was. She was the kind of person you always hoped to be with."

She was born Eleanora Maria to Joseph and Gertrude Puhl and grew up on Conant Street in Maumee. She was a graduate of Maumee High School and was encouraged to her vocation by a maternal aunt, who was a religious sister.

She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1944.

"Her greatest joy was following the Detroit Tigers," Sister Mary Patricia said. "Even until the last week, she was hoping they'd win the No. 1 spot. She would tease others who were for other teams, and she had fun with it."

She even got to attend a game once, thanks to a niece.

Surviving is her sister, Irene Bourgeois.

Visitation begins at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Provincial Center and continues until after the formal prayer and remembering at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Provincial Center.

Tributes are suggested to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

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