Sister Genevieve (M. Innocentia) Birchard
Sister Genevieve (M. Innocentia) Birchard, RSM, 98, died Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a brief illness. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Sacred Heart Chapel by the Rev. Tony Adawu. Burial will be at the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the Sacred Heart Chapel with a wake service at 6:30 p.m. Arrangements are with Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services.
Sister Genevieve was born Sept. 26, 1920, in Hazleton, Iowa, the daughter of Gordon and Gertrude (Michels) Birchard. She attended public school in Hazleton, Iowa, and graduated in 1938.
She graduated from Mount Mercy Junior College in 1940; entered the Cedar Rapids Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in 1941; received a bachelor's of science degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, in 1950; and earned a master's degree in economics from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1958.
Sister Genevieve's first ministry was teaching at Immaculate Conception High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1943. From 1947 to 1955, she continued as a high school teacher at Sacred Heart in Waterloo, Iowa; Immaculate Conception in Charles City, Iowa; and returning to Immaculate Conception in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From 1955 to 1959, she was principal of Immaculate Conception School in Elma, Iowa. From 1959 through 1962, she taught at St. Joseph in DeWitt, Iowa, and Columbus High School in Waterloo, Iowa. She worked at Mount Mercy College as a business manager and assistant professor from 1962 to 1974. From 1975 through 1990, Sister Genevieve was a secretary and business manager at Catholic Education Center in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. Sister Genevieve worked part-time for a family member's business, Nu-Way Cleaners, from 1990 to 2001.
Upon her retirement in 2001, Sister Genevieve enjoying visiting family and friends, watching sports and volunteering by crocheting prayer shawls for Mercy Medical Center. Sister Genevieve was a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy for 77 years.
In addition to the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Genevieve is survived by siblings, Leo Birchard, Robert Birchard, Harold Birchard and Lucille Miller; numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews; and lifelong friends, Renee Travis Reilly and Catherine Wolf.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Gordon and Gertrude; siblings, Jason Birchard, Doris Megonigle, Rita Sigman, Barbara Lewis and Rose Caswell.
Memorials may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy at 1125 Prairie Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.