Sister Suzanne Wickenkamp, CHM


Sister Suzanne Wickenkamp, age 90, died on Feb. 1, 2011, at Ottumwa Regional Hospital, Ottumwa, IA. On Friday, Feb. 4, at Reece Funeral Home, 607 E. Second St., Ottumwa, there will be visitation, 3-7 p.m., the rosary will be recited at 5 p.m. and a vigil service at 7 p.m. 

The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m., at St. Mary of the Visitation Church, 216 N. Court Street, Ottumwa, with visitation there at 10:15 a.m.  Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery on the campus of Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, after the Mass.

Dorothy Susanna Wickenkamp was born on Jan. 15, 1921, in Sigourney, Iowa, to Harry and Zelda Ollinger Wickenkamp. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in Ottumwa on Sept. 8, 1943, and professed vows on July 17, 1946.

Sr. Wickenkamp received her R.N. from the St. Joseph School of Nursing, Ottumwa, in 1942, her A.A. from Ottumwa Heights College in 1944, her B.S. from Marycrest College, Davenport, in 1946 and an M.S. in nursing education from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis., in 1951.


For her entire religious life, Sister Suzanne’s ministry was conducted in the sphere of health care in Ottumwa, where she was also very active in community and church organizations.  She began nursing at St. Joseph Hospital in 1942 and served as a staff nurse and instructor for a year before becoming Director of the School of Nursing for 20 years until 1971. For 10 of these years she also was director of nursing service.  She served on the Iowa Board of Nursing for 10 years, the Board of Trustees of Marycrest College for 10 years and on the Board of Directors of St. Joseph Hospital for 20 years.

Sr. Wickenkamp served as president and CEO of St. Joseph Hospital from 1972-1986. The two Ottumwa Hospitals merged to create the Ottumwa Regional Health Center in 1987, where she served as manager of the Pastoral Care Center. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Ottumwa Regional Health Center in 2002. She retired in 2007 to Pennsylvania Place, Regional Retirement Center, Ottumwa, residing there until her death.

Sr. Wickenkamp was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Jo Ann.   

She is survived by sisters Mary Virginia Lee, Kailua, Hawaii, and Mildred Peiffer, Phoenix, Ariz., brother Don, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, nieces, nephews and cousins as well by the Sisters and associates of her religious community.

Memorials may be made to the Sisters of Humility of Mary.

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