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Published: Sunday, 6/6/2010

Nun was educator, hospital executive

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sister Jeanne Stack, a former chief executive of Providence Hospital, Sandusky, and longtime director of its nursing school who entered the convent at age 35, died Thursday in Rosary Care Center, Sylvania. She was 85.

She had congestive heart failure, said Sister Nancy Linenkugel, who succeeded her as president and chief executive officer of Providence Hospital.

Sister Jeanne was a registered nurse - and a layperson - when she was hired in the early 1950s as an instructor at the Providence nursing school. Several years later, she was named director, a post she held a total of 25 years.

"During her time [as] director, there was never a failure by any student nurse who took the state board exam to become a registered nurse," Sister Nancy said. "This is an incredible statistic. She was responsible because she really raised up the standards of the school."

She knew every aspect of the school. "She was the most organized person I've ever seen," said Pat Cornely, a retired nursing instructor whom Sister Jeanne hired. "She was very understanding and fair to everybody."

While director, Sister Jeanne traveled regularly to Bowling Green State University, from which she received a doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

In 1961, she took a year from her nursing school duties and entered the convent at the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, as a novice. She was a woman of strong faith who'd worked among the Sylvania Franciscans at the nursing school and Providence Hospital for years.

"She felt God calling her to a life of being a sister and took the plunge," Sister Nancy said. Though she was a more than a decade older than other novices, some of whom were recent high school graduates, "the sisters in the hierarchy said, 'Who are we to stand in the way of God if God is really calling her?'•" Sister Nancy said.

She made her first profession of vows in 1963 and her final vows in 1968.

In 1978, her community asked her to become president and CEO of Providence, which the sisters sponsored. She agonized over leaving her school duties, "but in the end, she took the vow of obedience as a sister. She said, 'If this is what I'm asked to do, this is what I'm going to do,'•" Sister Nancy said. As leader of the hospital, "she was such an example to everybody."

In 1986, Sister Jeanne became director of educational services for the Franciscan Services Corp., formed to oversee the sisters' hospitals. A decade later, she became archivist for the Sisters of St. Francis. She retired in 2004.

She was born March 14, 1925, in Batavia, N.Y. She had a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in education from Canisius College, Buffalo.

She appreciated nature and like bird watching at Crane Creek State Park. She and Miss Cornely, whom she'd hired, remained friends and traveled to Ireland and Italy and around the United States. The last two years, with Sister Jeanne in ill health, Miss Cornely called her weekly.

"She was easy to get along with," Miss Cornely said.

Surviving are her sister, Eleanor Breen, and brother, Robert Stack.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania. Arrangements are by the Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home.

Tributes are suggested to the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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