Sister Mary Noreena Carr, SNJM

Mary Kate

June 23, 1921 – April 30, 2015

Sister Mary Noreena Carr, SNJM departed this life on April 30, 2015, in Spokane, Washington.

Sister Mary Noreena celebrating 93 years of life and 73 years of religious profession.

She was an alum of HNA Seattle, ‘39 and Marylhurst, Portland, OR, ‘55.

Sister Mary Noreena Carr, SNJM

June 23, 1921 – April 30, 2015

Mary Kate Carr was born in the family home on June 23, 1921, to Bernard J and Mary Byrne Carr. She joined Bill, Nora and Jim. Tom and Francis arrived later. Their parents emigrated from Ireland, met and married in Seattle.

They were active in church and civic communities, modeling that was later lived out by their daughter, Mary Kate. The family belonged to St. John’s Parish, which they helped establish, and where Mary Kate finished elementary school.

She graduated from Holy Names Academy in Seattle, and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names in 1939, pronouncing her vows in 1941 as Sister Mary Noreena. She earned a B.S. in Education from Marylhurst College, and M.Ed. from Seattle University and a PhD in Education from Arizona State University.

Sister Noreena’s teaching career began in 1941 in the middle and upper grades in Astoria, followed by assignments in St. Paul, Bend, The Dalles, Portland, Salem, Oswego, Seattle, Spokane Tacoma, and Everett.

In 1972, she taught in the Education Department at Gonzaga University before her year of study in Arizona in 1976. Upon her return to Spokane, she taught at Fort Wright College for two years before joining the faculty at Eastern State University. She continued as a full Professor at EWU until 1994, and stayed on as an adjunct professor for five more years.

In 1988, Sister Noreena visited schools in Australia and New Zealand to study their methods and programs in reading instruction, a visit she found most interesting, and which impacted her own teaching. In her semi-retirement, she continued to use her skills in the teaching of reading by tutoring children at Trinity School.

Sister Noreena was the consummate professional. She never entered her classroom less than fully prepared, and she expected the same of her students, for which they respected her.

She was a member of the Board of Examiners of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and a member of the Professional Standards Committee for International Reading as well as several other boards and committees.

She received the President’s Award from the Washington Organization for Reading Development, and was inducted into the WORD Hall of Fame. She is Professor Emerita from EWU from 1996, formally concluding fifty-five years of active teaching!

Seven more years of volunteer teaching followed!

In addition to her intense devotion to her ministry of education, Sister Noreena was also a responsible citizen of her country and of her local neighborhood, contributing to the Logan Neighborhood Assembly for several years, and encouraging others to join those efforts.

As dedicated a teacher as she was, Sister Noreena was first a religious woman. Every bit a community person, Sister Noreena was an appreciator, a contributor, a party-giver, always present at community events, and always a self-appointed clean-up committee.

Sister Noreena was well aware of how things should be done, and was careful to follow procedures, protocol, customs, and rules. She has a delightful sense of humor, often demonstrated in her use of language-a very clever punster!

She was most gracious in expressing her gratitude for a good meeting, a fine meal, a satisfying outing, and in these last years, even for a visit, a prayer, a shower. Her independence was challenged greatly as she aged, but she never lost her heart of gratitude, a true expression of her spirituality!

Sister Noreena died April 30, 2015, at Brookdale South Regal in Spokane, just days after the death of her younger brother, Frank, the last of that generation.

She is survived by her loyal and devoted nieces and nephews, and by her religious Sisters.

We are grateful to her caregivers at Avalon Care Center and at Clare Bridge, her final earthly home.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 4:00 PM, Friday, May 15, at Convent of the Holy Names.

Memorial gifts may be made to Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR, 97036, or online at