December 7, 1928 – August 15, 2011
The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth mourn the loss of Sister Mary Depner, 82, who died on August 15, 2011, at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings, MT. Sister Mary had been visiting in Billings from Leavenworth, KS at the time of her death. She served the people of God as a Sister of Charity for 64 years. Her cheerfulness and her grateful attitude were a blessing for all those with whom she lived and worked.
Mary Dolores Depner was born on December 7, 1928 in Billings, MT, the seventh of nine children born to Martin A. and Katherine Gerber Depner. Mary attended Fratt Memorial Grade School and graduated from Billings Senior High in 1946. She entered the religious community of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth on August 27, 1947 and, as Sister Martin de Porres, made her profession of vows on September 8, 1949. She later returned to the use of her baptismal name, and was known as Sister Mary.
Mary was an accomplished musician, an excellent teacher, and a gifted organist. She received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, KS. Mary spent over 30 years teaching music in elementary and secondary classrooms across the west and Midwest. In 1974 she returned to her hometown where she taught in the parochial schools, was a school librarian, a liturgist, cared for her elderly mother for 21 years, and in May, 2004 retired as organist/pianist at Saint Patrick’s Co-Cathedral after 18 years. She belonged to the Billings Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and had an innate love for the organ, calling it the “King of the Instruments.” She delighted in her organ studies with Dr. Fred Binckes at Rocky Mountain College. Mary retired to the Mother House in Leavenworth, KS, in November, 2010.
Survivors include her brothers Arnold, Medford, OR; Earl, Monument, CO; Art, Spokane, WA; Ed, Redmond, WA; and sisters Patricia Gomm, Portland, OR; and Rita Leader, Billings, MT; niece Sister Carol Depner of Grand Junction, CO, also a Sister of Charity; many nieces, nephews, friends, and her SCL Community.
A vigil will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon on Friday, Aug. 19, also at St. Patrick’s. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Tribute prepared by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, KS.