Sister Marie Michel Crooks, a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 69 years, died Oct. 17 at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. She was 99.
Mildred Louise Crooks was born July 15, 1921, in Broomfield, Colorado, the fourth child born to James F. and Bertha M. (Graves) Crooks. She graduated in 1942 from Louisville High School in Louisville, Colorado.
On April 29, 1943, she entered the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), serving as a hospital corpsman for more than two and a half years. After boot camp at Hunter College in Brooklyn, New York, she attended the U.S. Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Maryland. Assignments included the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia; Annapolis, Maryland; and the Naval Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee. After her discharge in San Francisco, she returned to Broomfield on Dec. 12, 1945.
She completed her bachelor’s degree in radiology at Saint Louis University in 1950, accepting a position at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis. She joined the Catholic Church in 1950 and entered the Sisters of St. Mary in 1951. She received the name Sister Marie Michel, and she professed final vows Sept. 8, 1956. She completed her master’s degree in education through Saint Louis University in 1964.
She taught radiology at St. Mary’s through 1958. She was director of radiology at St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Charles (1958-62), then director of radiology at Firmin Desloge Hospital, St. Louis (1962-66). From 1966 to 1980 she served as director of radiology at St. Mary’s Hospital, Kansas City; she also taught radiology at Penn Valley College there.
For two years she served as vice president of the SSM Health Care Board. Returning to St. Mary’s Hospital in Kansas City, she served as assistant executive director (1982-86), then as administrative assistant to the executive director (1986-88); in 1988, the congregation relinquished ownership of the hospital.
At St. Mary’s Hospital in Blue Springs, Missouri, Sister Marie Michael served as mission coordinator, director of mission values, and chaplain (1988-2001). She returned to St. Louis, living at St. Mary of the Angels until moving to The Sarah Community in November 2010.
Sister Marie Michel loved all her work with people, whether providing pastoral care or taking X-rays that would help them get well. Before her eyesight began to fail, she enjoyed reading, embroidery and sewing. She also loved to take walks outside. She maintained a powerful ministry of prayer, and her optimism, kindness and willingness to listen to others made her much beloved.
A Mass of farewell will be held at a later date.