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Sister of Mercy teacher remembered for generosity, dedication to students

Sister of Mercy Anna-Maria Coverdell, a science teacher, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) pilot and radiological defense instructor who died March 28 in Omaha at age 95, will be remembered for her generosity and dedication, workmates said.

"During some of our more trying times, we have all thanked God for her presence and dedication," said Lt. Col. Jon Morris, a communications training officer with CAP’s North Central Region Headquarters.

"She loved to be with the cadets and they loved her," said Madeline Kennedy, wing administrator for Nebraska. "She used her teaching career as an opportunity to be with people."

Sister Coverdell’s funeral was April 5 at Mercy Villa and interment was at Resurrection Cemetery, both in Omaha.

Born in Atwood, Colo., raised in a Protestant family but interested in the Catholic Church and religious life, she converted to Catholicism and joined the Sisters of Mercy in Council Bluffs in 1942.

She taught from 1945 to 1950 at St. Mary High School in Omaha, which later merged with St. John High School to become Mercy High School and the place where Sister Coverdell taught from 1959 to 1977.

She taught at now-closed Paul VI High School in Omaha from 1978 to 1980, and at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha from 1980 to 1990. She also taught in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri and California.

Sister Coverdell, who rose to the rank of major, learned to fly at age 53, delivered blood to communities, served on search-and-rescue missions and taught cadets, in 1975 participating in an International Air Cadet Exchange. She also taught radiological defense and served on a CAP Radiological Monitoring Committee in 1979, shortly after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

She retired in 1997 and lived with the Sisters of Mercy community in Omaha.

Preceded in death by her parents, four sisters and a brother, Sister Coverdell is survived by a sister, Marian Quick of Rising Sun, Md., nieces, nephews and friends.

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