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Charlotte Walby, IHM

Sister Charlotte Walby, IHM, age 106, died Friday, March 24, in the IHM Health Care Center, Monroe, Michigan. Sister Charlotte was one of only five members in the history of the IHM community to celebrate as an 85th-year Jubilarian in 2019.

One of four boys and three girls born to Andrew and Catherine (Nieset) Walby, baby Colletta was born on Dec. 6, 1916, in Millersville, Ohio. She attended St. Mary Elementary School, Millersville. At age sixteen, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Monroe, and received the religious name, Sister Charlotte.

Sr. Charlotte completed high school at St. Mary Academy, Monroe with graduation in June 1933. She began studies at Marygrove College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She would later earn a master’s degree in Special Education from Wayne State University.

Teaching was her first and foremost ministry. This ministry lasted 32 years, mostly in the elementary grades, at St. Joseph, Erie; St. Mary, Mt. Morris; Holy Cross, Marine City; St. Agnes, Holy Trinity, St. Martin and Christ the King, Detroit; Nativity, Hollywood, Florida; and St. Mark, Cleveland. Sisters Charlotte was grounded in her teaching skills and faith, expressing her “hobby” as “My interests are finding ways to teach the slow child and or the troubled one to become as useful to self and to the world, as is possible.”  

A lifelong student herself, Sr. Charlotte delved into another ministry as a Nurses’ Aide in St. Mary Infirmary at the Motherhouse. She tendered additional education and transitioned into Religious Education and Pastoral Administration for over fifteen years at St. Mary Parish, Marshall, and St. Kieran School, Utica (Michigan); and in Ohio at St. Mary School, Millersville; Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Sandusky; and Countryside Care Center, Fremont.

After a well-earned sabbatical year, Sister spent several years (1989-97) tending to the sick as a Hospital Chaplain at Mercy Memorial Hospital (Monroe) and later to the community at St. Mary Center on the Motherhouse campus. When she retired in 1997, she volunteered in many areas, enjoyed music and singing, and was a fine conversationalist with all those on campus.

Sr. Charlotte is the last sibling to join those who have gone before her: brothers Wilfred, Raymond, Leo and Clemens, and sisters Anna Sherman and Irmina Hughes. She is survived by cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family.

Read Sister Charlotte’s Remembering.