After graduating from Mercy High School in 1956, Sister Regina Marie Doelker spent much of the remainder of her life serving the school that built her.
Doelker, who was the all-girls Catholic school's principal from 1986-2001 and its president from 2002-2010, died on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the age of 80. At Mercy, Doelker was also a math teacher and ran the school's math department for a time.
Doelker, known as Sister Regina by the ladies of Mercy High, was best known as the kind of educator who could connect with students on a personal level. According to the school, many of the thousands of ladies she crossed paths with remember her as someone who would always be in their corner and support them.
Professionally, Doelker moved Mercy, now located at 29300 W 11 Mile Road in Farmington Hills, into a principal and president administrative model, was instrumental in creating a STEM wing for the school, improving sports facilities and creating scholarships for ladies to attend Mercy.
"Regina dedicated her life to teaching young women and her legacy challenges us to sustain the important work of Mercy High School," Mercy President Cheryl Delaney said in a press release. "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.’”
According the school, Doelker was a woman of prayer, humor and enthusiasm.
“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,'" Doelker said in 2006. "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.”
Visitation will take place at Sacred Heart Chapel in the McAuley Life Center, 28750 W. 11 Mile Road, 3-8 p.m., Aug. 23. A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m.
On Aug. 24, a Mass of Resurrection will take place at Mercy Center Chapel, 28600 W. 11 Mile Road, at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow at the Holy Sepluchre Cemetery in Southfield, 25800 W. 10 Mile Road.
Donations can be made to the Mercy High School Sister Regina Marie Doelker Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Contact Shelby Tankersley at STankersle@HometownLife.com or 248-305-0448. Follow her on Twitter at @shelby_tankk.