Sister Veronica Mary Maher, IHM, 86, died April 13, in the IHM Health Care Center, Monroe.
Sister Veronica Mary was one of six children, two boys and four girls, of Henry and Veronica (Kelly) Maher. She was born Feb. 20, 1931, in Detroit, and was baptized Catherine Lyd. Catherine attended Gesu and Haley Public Elementary schools and graduated from Immaculata High School, Detroit. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College. After graduation she followed her sister Mary Jo, “Sister Patrick Ellen,” and entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, in 1951. She received the religious name, Veronica Mary.
Sister Veronica Mary began her early teaching career at St. Mary Academy, St. John and St. Mary, Monroe. In 1964 she returned to her own studies, earning a Master of Science degree in biology from Michigan State University. A gifted student, she pursued scientific studies at the University of Wisconsin, earning a PhD in molecular biology in 1968. She gained research experience at Yale University and returned to Marygrove College to teach biology for several years.
In what would become the focus of her life-long ministry, she joined the research staff of the Michigan Cancer Foundation. In 1976, she began a 30-year career at Michigan State University as medical school and cancer research professor; co- founder and research scientist of the Carcinogenesis Laboratory and Associate Dean of Graduate Study.
Sister Veronica’s contributions to carcinogenic research have been invaluable to the treatment of cancer. In recognition of her contributions to the university, the nation and the international community of scientists in her field, Sister Veronica Mary was awarded the highest honor at Michigan State University, the title of University Distinguished Professor, a title held by less than 1.5 percent of the faculty.
After residing in East Lansing for many years, Sister Veronica Mary retired to the Motherhouse in 2009, living there until the time of her death.
Sister Veronica Mary is survived by her brother, Henry and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother Richard and sisters: Mary Joseph Maher, IHM; Margaret and Veronica.
Visitation will be held at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel, Tuesday, April 18, beginning at 9 a.m. A Remembering and Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe MI 48162-7909.