Sister Joanne Klenke, who spent most of her years in service in hospital business operations and in social work in St. Louis, died June 22 at age 86.
Born in St. Louis, Sister Joanne entered the Sisters of St. Mary in 1960 and professed final vows in 1968. Her sister, Sister Mary Geralyn Klenke, was also a Franciscan Sister of Mary.
Sister Joanne earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and finance in 1968 and a master’s degree in social work in 1977, both through Saint Louis University.
Sister Joanne worked in the business office at St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis as assistant treasurer, data processor, fiscal analyst and internal auditor from her entrance in 1960 until 1971. She was assistant director of patient accounts at St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Illinois, returning briefly to St. Mary’s Health Center as fiscal analyst and internal auditor in 1975. She provided data assistance at Arcadia Valley Hospital in Ironton, Missouri, in 1976. From 1977-80, she was a social worker at Cardinal Ritter Institute (now Cardinal Ritter Senior Services) in St. Louis. She returned to Arcadia Valley Hospital in Ironton as accountant and director of social services and worked as a home care liaison at a hospital in Wisconsin.
Sister Joanne served as a field representative for the St. Louis Agency on Aging Food Bank from 1988-89, then as a residence manager from 1989-91, social worker from 1991-2001, and board member from 2002-05 at Cardinal Ritter Institute. She was elected to the FSM Leadership Team as councilor and congregational treasurer from 2001-07. She then provided child care for a neighbor and served in the convent lobby. She moved to The Sarah Community in Bridgeton in 2013.
Sister Joanne enjoyed reading, especially history, with a special interest in the historical Jesus. She especially enjoyed social work, providing direct care to the poor and marginalized and serving as an advocate for them.
A Mass of remembrance will be celebrated in the chapel at The Sarah Community at a future date. A private burial was to take place at Resurrection Cemetery in St. Louis.