ST. LOUIS — Sister Wilma Wittman (Mother Mary Basil), OSU, died peacefully March 4 at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Mo. She spent most of her life ministering in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
The daughter of John Sigmund Wittman and Marie Augusta Myers Wittman, she was born May 2, 1924, in Alton, where she graduated from Marquette High School. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in Crystal City, Mo., in 1942 and made her vows in 1945. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the College of New Rochelle in New York and a master’s degree in education at St. Louis University.
Sister Wilma’s long and colorful teaching career found her serving in Decatur and Alton, and Galveston, Texas. She taught at Ss. Peter and Paul in Alton in 1949 and from 1957-1959, St. Bernard in Wood River from 1949-1954, St. Ambrose in Decatur from 1954-1957, and St. Teresa in Decatur from 1959-1964, where she was principal from 1965-1968. She taught at Marquette High School in Alton from 1976-1996, serving as assistant principal from 1976-1979 and acting principal in 1986. She retired from Marquette High School June 1996 after nearly 50 years of ministry in Catholic schools.
In addition to her teaching career, she held many positions in local Ursuline leadership, including serving as prioress of the Decatur Ursuline community. She also was known for her beautiful photography and her love of nature.
Sister Wilma is survived by three brothers, John, Robert and Richard, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Rosalie Wittman Schwaegel and Virginia Wittman Ervin.
A funeral Mass was celebrated March 8 at St. Ambrose Church in Godfrey, with Father Steven Janoski presiding.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Ursuline Sisters Retirement Fund, 353 S. Sappington, St. Louis, MO 63122.