July 13, 1923 – August 9, 2014
When asked about her background, Sister Marjorie’s first response was, “I grew up in the restaurant business!” The “restaurant” was Suttmiller’s, located in the Riverdale area of Dayton, Ohio. It was a place for fine dining and great entertainment for generations of Daytonians. It was also a place of hard work and family pride. Marge’s family was very close to one another. She attributed that closeness to working side by side running the family business.
Marge wanted to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur immediately after graduation from Julienne High School. She felt becoming a Sister of Notre Dame would be the way she could best serve God and other people. Then her father told her that her mother had cancer. Marge put her desires aside to stay home, help care for her mother, and help at the restaurant. She said, “God was very gentle with me during those years. He gave me the Blessed Mother as a very special guide. I’d come home from the restaurant in the wee hours of the morning and my mother would be awake, waiting for me to pray the Litany to the Blessed Mother with her. Our Lady was the one who guarded me through those years. She took care of me.”
The family continued to need her help and support after her mother died. Her brothers were serving in the military, so her father continued to need her help at the restaurant. Her sister was still in school and needed her as well. She became the mother figure in the family. It was only after her sister graduated and her father remarried that Marge felt free to answer the call of God to become a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. At the age of 29, and with a wealth of practical business and life experience, Marge finally arrived at Mount Notre Dame to begin her life in Notre Dame. Even though she had waited so long to follow her heart’s desire, she missed the family and the restaurant business. She realized she was giving up something she loved to do something else she would also come to love.
Marge’s good business sense and love of being with people were quickly put to use in Notre Dame. While still a novice she was missioned to St. Joseph’s Academy in Columbus to serve as Business Manager and to take over the cafeteria. Thus began her years of running cafeterias and serving as Business Manager in secondary schools around the Ohio Province. In many of the houses where she lived she also ran the bakeries that provided baked goods for the Sisters’ meals. She was a hard worker, willing to serve where and how she was needed most. She enjoyed relating with the students, parents and vendors, and was a good mentor to the young Sisters assigned to help her in the bakery.
In 1986 Marge was asked to return to Mount Notre Dame as Project Manager for building the new Province Office building. When that project was completed she served in the Province Finance Office until her retirement. “Retirement” gave her the opportunity to serve the community through many tasks, including driving sisters on errands and to medical appointments. She appreciated the one-on-one time with her Sisters that driving gave her. It allowed her to get to know the Sisters in a deeper way. Marge lent her gifts to the Province Finance Board for many years. She also served as the Notre Dame representative on the Lorelei Board for a number of years. It was a conversation with Marge that gave Sisters Lorraine Oswald and Mary John Carinato the inspiration to begin the vacation days at Lorelei for Sisters living in the Health Center.
In community Marge was a jovial presence, enjoying community celebrations, good card games and relaxing at Lorelei with good friends. She was fun to be with and a great traveling companion. She was an attentive listener, a good story teller and took an active interest in those around her.
Just as Marge was close to her siblings, she was also close to her nieces and nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews. She welcomed them into her Notre Dame home where ever she was, and appreciated opportunities to visit them in Dayton and beyond. She also reached out to the families of other Sisters and was a compassionate presence to Sisters when loved ones died.
Marge was flexible enough to live with four other Sisters and dozens of lay men and women in a nearby assisted living community while the new Health Center was being built in 2000-2001. She couldn’t wait to get back to Mount Notre Dame. She said that while the experience allowed her to reach out to her peers, it also taught her how much she really loved religious life and community living. In 2003 she wrote, “I can’t say enough about how good God has been to me. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed all my different jobs. I feel kind of selfish about it because I’ve had such a good life. My biggest prayer is always thanking God for my vocation and the opportunity to do His work.…no matter how long I serve Him I’ll never be able to repay Him for all that He has given me.”
The rest of us will be forever thanking the Good God for the wonderful gift He gave us in Sister Marjorie Suttmiller.
Born July 13, 1923 at Dayton, Ohio
Parents: Theodore Edward Suttmiller ((b. Batesville, Indiana) and Caroline Kirschbaum (b. Oldenburg, Indiana)
Brothers: Cliff, Alvin, Ted and Bill Suttmiller
Sister: Ruth Suttmiller Jackson Tokasey
Baptized July 22, 1923 at Corpus Christi Church, Dayton, Ohio
Educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio
Entered Notre Dame September 8, 1952 at Mount Notre Dame
First Profession: March 12, 1955
Final Vows: August 13, 1960
Associate in Business Administration, Miami-Jacobs Junior College of Business, Dayton, Ohio 1975
March, 1955-1960: St. Joseph Academy, Columbus, Ohio – Cafeteria, School Business Manager
1960-1964: Mount Notre Dame, Reading Ohio Cafeteria Manager, Bakery
1964-1968: Summit Country Day School, Cafeteria, School Business Manager
1968-1973: Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio – Accounts Receivable, Cafeteria Manager
1975-1988: Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois – Business Manager
1986-1988: Mount Notre Dame Convent, Reading, Ohio – Special Project Manager
1988-1998: Province Offices, Reading, Ohio – Assistant in the Finance Office
1998-2008: Mount Notre Dame Convent, Reading, Ohio – Community Service
2009 – present: Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading Ohio – Ministry of Prayer
Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
August 9, 2014