Sr. Kopel had career in education

Sr. Kopel

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Sister Jeanette Kopel, CHM, 90, died March 26 at Bishop Drumm Care Center.

Jeanette Angeline Kopel was born Sept. 26, 1933, in Haverhill, Iowa, to Wilbert and Celestine (Neuroth) Kopel. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1954 and professed vows as Sister Mary René in 1956.

She completed degrees in home economics from Ottumwa Heights College in Ottumwa and Marycrest College in Davenport, an MS in library science from the University of Illinois, and an MA in religious studies from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas. She earned permanent professional teacher certificates from the states of Iowa and Texas.

In addition, she completed workshops and certificate programs in diverse subjects, including art, computer literacy, couples communication, psychology, computers and education and literacy. She was certified for catechist formation by the California Catholic Conference, Ministry to the Elderly by the Diocese of San Bernardino, church building and ministry to families with adolescents by Incarnate Word College, and ministry and leadership formation by the Diocese of San Angelo.


Sister Kopel had a long career in education. She was a teacher at St. Joseph in Dunlap, Illinois; Catholic Central in Great Falls, Montana; a teacher/librarian at St. Leo High School in Lewistown, Montana; and St. Albert in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She was a school librarian for Regina High School in Iowa City, Iowa City Catholic School, and St. Catherine School in Riverside, California. She was a teacher, librarian and computer professional for St. Ann School in Midland, Texas, and a volunteer coordinator at the Recording Library for the Blind and Handicapped (now known as the Recording Library of West Texas). In 2001, she moved to the Humility of Mary Center in Davenport and volunteered as a reader recorder for the Iowa Department of the Blind.

She was a life member of the American Association of University Women and a member of Beta Phi Mu, the International Library Science Honor Society. She served as a regional representative for the Diocese of Davenport’s Sisters Council (1977-1979).

Her transition from teacher to librarian and finally book recorder underscored her courage and deep commitment to lifelong learning. Early in her teaching career, she was diagnosed with MS. In situations where her health dictated leaving her position, she adapted to the new challenges and continued on her path with a new method. For her contributions to accessible library services, she received the Appreciation for Outstanding Service from the Texas State Library in 1993, the Governor’s Volunteer Award from the State of Iowa in 2002, a Certificate of Recognition from the State of Iowa in 2008, and the Florence Grannis Library Service Award from the Iowa Department for the Blind in 2009.

Private memorial services were held April 2 at Bishop Drumm Queen of Peace Chapel and at Humility of Mary Center, Magnificat Chapel. Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.

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