URBANA — Springfield Dominican Sister M. Sara Koch, OP, died suddenly on Oct. 18, in Urbana.
She was born in Mt. Sterling in 1940 to Raymond and Marie (Redmond) Koch, and baptized Marcia Sue at St. Mary Church, Mt. Sterling. She joined the Dominicans in 1959 and professed her vows in 1961 at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield.
Sister M. Sara’s life is inextricably bound to St. Malachy Parish, Rantoul, where she served 36 of her 59 years of religious profession. She began her ministerial life teaching primary grades at parochial schools in Springfield, Hampshire, and Quincy. In 1973, Sister M. Sara moved to junior high, first in Decatur, then in Crystal Lake. In 1981, she was assigned to St. Malachy School to teach seventh grade and served there, with one three-year interruption, until her final day of life. From 1992 to 1995, Sister M. Sara taught junior high at Our Saviour School in Jacksonville. During her years at St. Malachy, she had four ministry assignments: principal (two different times), director of religious education for youth and adults, spiritual life coordinator, and finally prayer companion.
Sister M. Sara was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Donald, Robert, and Maurice; and her sisters, Patricia Koch and Mary Ellen Ferrill.
She is survived by her siblings, Charles of Mt. Sterling, Rosalie (Jim) Shank of Decatur, and Joan Zurita of Rolling Meadows; 23 loving nieces and nephews; and many cousins, including Sister Marcelline Koch, also a Dominican Sister of Springfield.
A private Mass of Resurrection was held at Sacred Heart Convent on Oct. 20. A private burial was held at Calvary Cemetery on Oct. 21. A memorial Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Convent at a later date.
Memorials to honor the memory of Sister M. Sara may be made to the Dominican Sisters Retirement Fund, 1237 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62704.
The Dominican Sisters and family of Sister M. Sara were served by Butler Funeral Home — Springfield.