Sister Mary John VanderLoop, OSM, 101, died on Monday, March 23, 2020, at Lake Manor in Ladysmith. The former Loretta Elizabeth VanderLoop, she was born on a farm east of Ladysmith on June 5, 1918, to George and Alice (Reynders) VanderLoop, the third of 13 children.
She attended Crabb Grade School and Ladysmith High School, from which she graduated as valedictorian in 1937. She studied at River Falls State Teachers College and earned a teaching certificate from Rusk County Normal School, an RN from St. Francis School of Nursing, La Crosse, and a BSN from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth.
She entered the Servants of Mary in Ladysmith on Feb. 11, 1941, and professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1948. She taught in elementary schools in Wisconsin and West Virginia. She served on the Servants of Mary leadership team for 13 consecutive years. She was director of nursing at Addolorata Villa, Wheeling, Ill., and at St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Joseph on the Flambeau Nursing Home, Ladysmith. She helped open St. Mary’s Kewaunee Area Memorial Hospital in 1959 and served there as administrator and director of nursing.
She retired from healthcare in 1985 and turned her attention to peace and justice ministry. She was a founding member of the Flambeau Valley Peace Coalition, a member of the Servite Justice and Peace Committee, and a district coordinator for Bread for the World and NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby. She served on the board of the Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women as consultant for the International Affairs Commission. She traveled to El Salvador in 1993 with the Pastors for Peace caravan, bringing material aid to that war-torn country, and returned the following year as an election observer. Well into her 90s, she was sharing Gospel wisdom on WLDY radio in Ladysmith.
In 1996 the Wisconsin Housing Ministry Partnership named the Mary John VanderLoop Villa in Minocqua, Wis., after her in recognition for her public leadership and help with people in need.
She is survived by her sisters Gertrude (late Patrick) O’Brien, Audrey (Donald) Kvist, and Anne (Jack) Hauber, brothers Theodore (Julie) VanderLoop and George (Kathleen) VanderLoop, numerous nieces and nephews, and the Servite Sisters, with whom she shared life for 79 years.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Martina (late Wilmer) Doell, Marie (Joseph) Haasl, Sister Mary Bernice VanderLoop, Dorothy (late Leo) Krajewski, Eunice (late Daniel) Rybicki, and Eileen (Frank) Rotta, and brother Paul (late Mildred) VanderLoop.
A private graveside service will be held, with burial in the Servants of Mary cemetery in Ladysmith.
A public memorial service will be held at a later date.
The Nash-Jackan Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.