In Loving Memory
Sister Mary Jean Tuttle, OSB, 86, died Sunday, June 6, 2010, in Benet Hall at St. Scholastica Monastery. She was born November 29, 1923, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she attended St. Michael’s Elementary School and Central High School. She earned a B.A. from The College of St. Scholastica with a music major and minors in English and French, an M.A. in Theology from St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, Minnesota, an M.M.Ed. degree in Music Education from the University of North Dakota, and an M.A. in Communications from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Other studies included music at Northwestern University, psychology and education at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, Minnesota, French at Kansas State University, and music education at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sister Mary Jean entered the Duluth Benedictine community January 4, 1943, and professed her monastic vows July 11, 1944. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee August 12, 1969, her Golden Jubilee July 10, 1994, and her Diamond Jubilee August 8, 2004.
She taught elementary grades at St. Timothy’s in Chicago, Illinois, St. Francis in Brainerd, Minnesota, and St. Anthony’s and Sacred Heart Schools in Duluth. Later she taught at Cathedral Junior High School in Duluth and, for a year, she taught at Gerard High School in Phoenix, Arizona. She then joined the faculty at The College of St. Scholastica as assistant professor of Music and Communication. In 1999 she received the Max H. Lavine Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2000 the Sister Timothy Kirby Benedictine Spirit Award. In addition to her professional work, she was a member of the Monastery schola and was a member of Pax Christi, an international society for the promotion of peace and justice.
Years ago, when asked what her favorite interests were, she said, “Music and sports, especially ice skating.” At her wake, her brother Donald said that whenever she came home to visit she was so happy; he was sure she had made the right decision to be a Sister. Others spoke of how well she connected with her students and drew out of them talents they did not know they had. For example, she persuaded one, a stutterer in his youth, to play a part in “West Side Story,” one of her twenty musical productions at Duluth Cathedral Junior High School. When she was given the Lavine Award for Teaching Excellence at The College of St. Scholastica, it was noted that her enthusiasm captivated her students. She was vibrant and consistently joy-filled despite the fact that she endured pain most of her life from rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed when she was in her thirties. One of the hymns at her funeral liturgy, “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness,” seems to epitomize her life.
Sister Mary Jean was preceded in death by her parents Jess and Grace (Carroll) Tuttle; a brother, Robert and a sister, Grace (Tuttle) Steinbar. In addition to the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, she is survived by a brother, Donald, a sister, Marguerite (Tuttle) Carlson, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
A wake service was held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 14, 2010, in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, St. Scholastica Monastery, with visitation until 10:45 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial followed at 11 a.m. with Father William Graham presiding. Interment was in Gethsemane Cemetery.
- St. Timothy’s, Chicago, IL
- St. Francis, Brainerd, MN
- St. Anthony’s, Duluth, MN
- Cathedral Junior High School, Duluth, MN
- Gerard High School, Phoenix, AZ
- Cathedral High School, Duluth, MN
- The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN
- Music Educators National Conference
- Minnesota Alliance for the Arts in Education
- Minnesota Music Educators Association
- Pax Christi