Sr. Mary Anna Therese Hartlieb, 1933-2012: Nun’s career in education began in 1954


Sister Mary Anna Therese Hartlieb, a longtime educator and administrative assistant for her religious order, the Sisters of Notre Dame in Toledo, died Sunday at Heartland of Waterville, where she had been a patient. She was 79.

She had been in failing health, and the cause of death was cancer, said Sister Mary Patricia Snyder of the Notre Dame Provincial Center in Toledo.

Her teaching career spanned nearly six decades in northwest Ohio, beginning in 1954.

She taught elementary students at Delphos St. John’s, St. Joseph in Fremont, St. Wendelin in Fostoria, Sacred Heart of Bethlehem, and, in Toledo, at St. James, St. Ann, and Sacred Heart.

In 1967, she began teaching business courses to high school students at Fremont St. Joseph, St. Mary in Sandusky, and at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo.

She was born on Valentine’s Day, 1933, to Joseph and Dorothy Hartlieb in Sandusky, one of eight children.

She attended St. Mary elementary and high schools there and began working as a department store clerk. But her desire to do more with her life led her to consider a religious vocation, said Sister Mary Patricia.

A religious calling is “the instinct that there is more to life than just having a job,” Sister Mary Patricia said.

Sister Mary Anna Therese entered the order of the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1951.

In 2004, she and seven other Notre Dame nuns celebrated their golden jubilees at a special ceremony at Christ the King parish.

She received her bachelor of arts degree from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo and her master’s degree from Bowling Green State University.

Her teaching career followed a path taken by many nuns, which involved beginning with elementary grades before advancing to high school instruction, said Sister Mary Patricia.

“You learn how to teach what is important,” she said. “The elementary level prepares them profoundly for teaching in high school.”

She traveled to Rome in 1984, staying there until 1992, when she returned to Ohio.

During her time abroad, her primary role was praying as an “adoration sister,” while also assisting her religious order at the Mother House with her business skills in administrative roles, Sister Mary Patricia said.

On returning to Toledo, Sister Mary Anna Therese used her secretarial skills to assist with the provincial administration and assisting with teaching at Notre Dame Academy until 2002.

She continued to work as a tutor and instructional assistant until June, when her health deteriorated, said Sister Mary Patricia.

“This was her outreach in retirement,” she said.

Outside the classroom, she enjoyed baking coffee cakes and cookies and playing cards.

She was known for her creative greeting cards, of which she made hundreds, said Sister Mary Patricia. Some of her cards are sold in the academy’s gift shop.

“She was wonderful in making greeting cards. We all looked forward to having them,” Sister Mary Patricia said.

Sister Mary Anna Therese is survived by her sisters, Sylvia Ellerman and Bernadette Koenig, and brothers, John and Carl Hartlieb.

Visitation is to be from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Notre Dame Provincial Center, 3837 Secor Rd., where a “sharing of memories” is to take place at 7 p.m., and until 5 p.m. Thursday, when a funeral Mass will be said. Arrangements were handled by Urbanski Funeral Home.

Tributes are suggested to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Contact Jim Sielicki at:

jsielicki@theblade.comor 419-724-6050.