Carol Williams, MD, an Adrian Dominican Associate since November 2007, died on January 22, 2018, after a short convalescence. She was the second of two children, born on September 13, 1931 to Frances and Daniel Williams. Carol and her brother Dan grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Carol attended an all-girls prep high school, where she was the valedictorian of her class.
Carol’s father, a general practitioner of medicine, became ill with tuberculosis when Carol was in the eighth grade, and subsequently died while she was a senior in high school. Her mother was a reporter for The Chattanooga Times, and eventually became the editor of the society section of the paper.
Carol attended Vanderbilt University for two years, then transferred to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and graduated with a degree in chemistry. She graduated in 1955 from the Tennessee College of Medicine.
Carol’s accomplishments as a physician were many, including a fellowship in obstetrics-gynecology and gynecologic oncology at Barnes and Allied Hospitals/Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She became head of a residency program and subsequently chief of the department at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis.
In 1975, Carol went into a solo private practice, and was a most beloved doctor. She closed her practice in 1991 and was engaged in delivering and coordinating women’s health care in community and public health settings. From the early 1980’s, she also served in pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and St. Louis University. Carol was the first woman President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and, in 1992, served as the President of the Missouri State Medical Association.
Carol was married for 20 years to a pediatrician. Early in the marriage she developed breast cancer. Her marriage ended, and an annulment was granted. She had no children.
Carol began her spiritual life as a Southern Baptist, and began daily Bible reading. After being a member of the Episcopal Church, she became a Catholic in 1981. She served on the board of the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, where she earned a master’s degree in theology and certificates in pastoral care, spiritual direction, and preaching. For years, she was an Associate with the Racine Dominican Sisters.
Carol ultimately made her commitment to Adrian Dominican Associate Life on November 27, 2007, mentored by Sisters Patricia Walter, OP and Peggy Coyne, OP.
In her application for Associate Life, Carol wrote the following: “These years as a Catholic have seen the gradual release from the fear of engagement with one’s life issues and the attendant risk of hurt. In spiritual direction the unresolved, unrepented, unforgiven relationships and injuries sustained through seventy five years of living have yielded to the light of God’s care and mercy in Christ in the power of the Spirit. I am grateful to the Lord of the Journey for rescuing me from the trash heap to which I tried to consign myself and bringing me into healing communion with God’s people.”
Carol was very devoted to her Sojourner group in St. Louis – made up of Adrian Dominican Associates – and formed close relationships with both Associates and Sisters. She continued to be present to those who were in crisis with illness and dying.
Carol is preceded in death by her parents and survived by her brother Daniel (Joan) Williams, Jr.; nephew Chris (Terri) Williams and their son Stone Williams; and nephew William Hedrick.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 26, 2018, at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis. Visitation will be at 9:00 a.m. until the Mass at 10:00 a.m. Burial will be during a private service held at a later date in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
Doris Marie Beach was born on February 2, 1920, to Samuel and Freda Beach. She and her three brothers grew up on a farm in southwestern Michigan. She attended a one-room schoolhouse and then a small high school in Edwardsburg, Michigan, graduating with a class of 17.
Doris graduated from the Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing in 1951. She then had a long career as a staff nurse, head nurse, Assistant Director of Nursing, and Medical-Surgical Psychiatric Supervisor.
For many years, Doris shared a home with a nurse friend, who died in 1981. Sister Susan Parker, OP, came to live with Doris as they were both working at the same hospital and had become friends.
Doris cared for both of her parents as they aged and faced illness and death. One of her brothers died in a motorcycle accident at age 17, and Doris’ two other brothers married and had children. She was a most beloved aunt.
Doris had several interests, including reading, gardening, crossword puzzles, and crafts.
Mentored by Sister Marilyn Foster, OP, Doris joined Associate Life on October 20, 2001. Her introduction to the Congregation came through Sister Susan and through a seminar on death and dying, during which she observed the warmth and love that the Sisters showed toward one another and the people they served.
Doris enjoyed the prayer and the gatherings of her Mission Group and Chapter. As an Associate, she hoped to enrich her life “and ultimately become closer to God.” She was also interested in peace and justice issues and was eager to learn about various forms of service. In renewing her commitment to Associate Life, Doris wrote, “I want to be a part of who the Sisters are and what they stand for.”
After retirement, Doris lived six months of the year in Redford, Michigan, and six months in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
She died of respiratory failure after surgery on January 3, 2018, with her niece and Sister Susan by her side.
Sylvia Norfleet was born on November 3, 1938, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her great aunt was Catholic, which led Sylvia to join the Catholic Church when she was 11 years old. She attended St. Matthew Lutheran School in St. Louis and graduated in 1957 from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, which was run by the Oblate Sisters of Providence. In time, Sylvia married David English and moved to Detroit.
Sylvia met Sisters Rosemarie Kieffer, OP, and Nancy Jurecki, OP, at her parish, Our Lady Gate of Heaven. She also attended the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, where she met Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, one of the faculty members.
Sylvia was always interested in outreach to the elderly and became volunteer coordinator of “Joyfield Caregivers.” This group was an elder service program that used the resources of church and community to help people maintain independent living, all at no cost to the participants.
From working with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sylvia began to take an interest in Associate Life. Sylvia was mentored by Sister Bridget Maier, OP, and joined Associate Life on October 7, 2000. She was a member of the Kaleidoscope Mission Group in the Great Lakes Chapter.
“I have an overwhelming desire to get closer to Jesus, to do His will,” Sylvia wrote in explanation for her desire to become an Associate. “I continually observe, listen to, and discuss all aspects of daily life. I find there is a truth and uplifting quality about these Sisters.” She also believed that she had the same vision as the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “We are a Gospel centered community, committed to learning and giving, through service,” she wrote.
“I am constantly in touch with my Mission Group,” Sylvia wrote a few years ago. “We dialogue. I believe we never stop learning. My challenge is physical. I have slowed down a lot in the past few years. Despite my health and poverty, God has blessed me more than ever.”
Sylvia suffered with declining health – mostly small strokes through the remaining years of her life. Her Mission Group was her lifeline.
Sylvia had surgery in mid-December and was unable to recover. She died on December 27, 2017. She was preceded in death by her son Craig English and one grandson, Davonne William Shaw. Surviving are her children Debra English Butler; David English, Jr.; and Leslie English.
The wake for Sylvia will be held from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, January 11, 2018, at O.H. Pye III Funeral Home, 17600 Plymouth Road, Detroit. The Funeral will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 12, 2018 at Sacred Heart Church, 1000 Elliott Street, Detroit. The burial will follow at Detroit Memorial Park West in Redford Township, Michigan.
Patricia Jean Seckel was born December 7, 1944 in Detroit, the middle child of seven. Her parents, Robert and Ruth LaBell Seckel, lived in Detroit their entire lives. Both of her parents worked hard to provide for their family.
Patty attended Our Lady Queen of Peace School and Madison High School, graduating in 1964. She felt a calling to work in the healthcare field. She worked for more than 25 years in nursing homes and with mentally and physically challenged children and adults.
After her father died very suddenly in 1981, Patty lived with her mother in Clinton Township, Michigan. She cared for her mother and worked full time in nursing homes, urgent care facilities, and doctor’s offices. After taking classes for years, Patty graduated from the Carnegie Institute in 1988, earning a certificate as a medical assistant.
Read more about Patty (pdf)
Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God—and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.