May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Donna Kerr, IHM

Sr. Donna Kerr, IHM, died July 19, 2021 at her home, the IHM Senior Living Community. 

Donna Mary Kerr was born on June 16, 1927 to William and Grace (Thurtle) Kerr in Battle Creek, Mich. Her father was a native of Eyemouth, Scotland and her mother hailed from Bad Axe, Michigan. Donna attended St. Phillip grade and high schools, graduating in 1945. She entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe and received the religious name Sister Noel Marie.  

Sister Donna began her teaching ministry in music at St. Mary Academy (Monroe), St. Felicitas (Chicago), and St. Charles (Coldwater, Mich.). Her teaching grew to include all subjects, as well as choir, Glee Club and Studio music at St. Charles, St. Mary (Mount Morris, Mich.) and several years at Our Lady of Miracles (Gustine, Calif.).

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, services will be private at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel on Wednesday, July 28.
Sr. Donna Kerr, IHM

After earning a bachelor’s degree at Marygrove College and master’s degree in Library Science from Western Michigan University, her mission assignments in Michigan included St. Hugo of the Hills (Bloomfield), St. John (Jackson), and St. Phillip (Battle Creek), as well as Santa Teresita (Santurce, Puerto Rico). During the summer breaks she studied music education and earned a master’s degree from Chicago Conservatory College, along with self-taught ability to play numerous instruments.

In 1973, she took a position with the Niles Public/Community Library (Niles, Mich.) beginning in library services, and over twenty years was Head of Circulation and Adult Services, Librarian, and Regional Historian and Archive Librarian. 

When she moved to the Motherhouse in 1998, she served as librarian in the community’s library until retiring in 2005. A decline in health necessitated a move to health care services in the IHM Senior Living Community. She met the challenges of aging with grace. 

Sister Donna is survived by sisters Patricia Rathbun and Beverly Gapske, nieces Debbie Buford and Mary Dorr, and her sisters in community.   

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, services will be private at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel on Wednesday, July 28. The services will be Livestreamed beginning at 10 a.m. at  and may be viewed until Aug. 18, 2021. Arrangements are under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, MI 48162-7909.

Obituaries for clergy and religious who have lived or served in the Archdiocese of Detroit may be emailed to [email protected]. Obituaries are printed as they are submitted, but may be edited for grammar and style. Detroit Catholic reserves the right to refuse or edit any submissions.