Sister Mary Belair, longtime teacher, died April 3, 2018, after more than 60 years with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.
Born Mary Alice Belair on Sept. 15, 1931 in Lowell, Mass. After attending public schools in Lowell, she entered St. Elizabeth Teacher College in Allegany, (now part of St. Bonaventure University) earning her bachelor's degree in education in 1971. She received her master's in home economics education in 1977 from Framingham State College in Massachusetts and took post-graduate theology courses at St. Michael College in Winooski, Vt.
Sister Mary was received into the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse on Aug. 15, 1955, and professed her final religious vows on Aug. 16, 1962.
Sister Mary began her ministry in education as a teacher at St. Anne School in Winston Salem, N.C. Throughout her career in education, Sister Mary taught in congregational schools in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. In 1980, she served as department chair of Home Economics at Bishop Verot High School in Ft. Myers, Fla. In 1993, after retiring from teaching, she served as a part-time clerk at St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga. In 2002, Sister Mary retired and spent her time making crafts for others enjoyment. In 2009, she moved to St. Elizabeth Convent, Tampa, Fla., where she officially retired and in January of 2017 returned home to St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, Allegany.
Sister Mary is predeceased by her parents, William and Rose LaBelle Belair; two sisters, Dorothy Therrien and Pauline Iverson; and two brothers, George Belair and Thomas Belair. She is survived by two sisters, Pearl Benoit and Jeannette Poulin.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, April 6, in the Chapel of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, followed by burial in St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Allegany.