Ruth Doelker was a student and 1956 graduate of the Catholic all-girl Our Lady of Mercy High School when it was located at Southfield and W. Outer Drive in Detroit. Inspired by the Sisters of Mercy who taught her, she entered the “Mercies” when she graduated and later taught Mathematics at her alma mater from 1964-74, later heading the Math Department.
She was Mercy High School Principal from 1986-2001 at the current location in Farmington Hills and served as President from 2002-2010. Her contributions through 7 decades are remarkable. Regina’s legacy was her ability to personally connect with and engage people in her life’s work. She often remembered birthdays, holy days and holidays with her handwritten notes and no request was too large to ask of herself or others if it was for Mercy. She moved Mercy administratively into a new Principal/President model and she was able to create a long range vision for the school. Through the efforts of a successful capital campaign, the new science wing was created leading to Mercy’s STEM initiatives and technology excellence. Under her leadership, sports facilities were improved and the first ever tennis courts were created. She continued to develop endowed scholarships, creating the ability to invite students to attend Mercy who did not have the financial means.
Mercy’s current President, Dr. Cheryl Delaney Kreger ’66 remembers Sister Regina fondly as a teacher, mentor and friend.“Regina dedicated her life to teaching young women and her legacy challenges us to sustain the important work of Mercy High School. She believed in and lived the words of the Venerable Catherine McAuley who founded the Sisters of Mercy: ‘No work of charity is of more importance to society than the careful education of young women.’” Sister Regina approached her life with enthusiasm, humor, and through prayer.
When Sr. Regina celebrated her 60th anniversary as a Sister of Mercy in 2006, she wrote: “My 60-year journey as a Sister of Mercy has truly been a wonderful adventure. I have lived my ring motto, ‘Serve the Lord with Gladness.’ Our founder, Catherine McAuley, has modeled for me a desire to teach young women and to be an advocate for the poor. Community life has strengthened my faith, my love for prayer, and my love for my sisters.”
Sr. Regina died Tuesday at Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills at the age of 80. Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. Friday at the Sacred Heart Chapel of the McAuley Life Center, 28750 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, just east of the Mercy High campus. There will be a Vigil Service at 7 p.m. Friday.
A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Mercy Center Chapel, 28600 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills. Please enter through the D Wing door with the blue Mercy awning. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield.
Donations in her memory may be made to Mercy High School Sister Regina Marie Doelker Endowed Scholarship Fund. 29300 W. Eleven Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI. 48336. Donations may also be made at the school’s website, https://www.mhsmi.org/blackbaud-donate.