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6/8/2013 11:21:00 AM
SSMO Sister honored by Portland Community College
 Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon/PCC photo
Preston Pulliams, president of Portland Community College, congratulates Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker, joined by Denise Frisbee, chair of the college's Board of Directors.
 Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon/PCC photo
Preston Pulliams, president of Portland Community College, congratulates Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker, joined by Denise Frisbee, chair of the college's Board of Directors.

BEAVERTON — Sister Theresa Ann Bunker of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon has been honored by Portland Community College as a recipient of a 2013 Diamond Alum Award. She received the award at a luncheon in Salem May 13.

Sister Theresa Ann was honored for 42 years of what she calls a "joy-filled ministry" at Maryville Nursing Home in Beaverton. Diamond Alum honorees are recognized for becoming community leaders.

Sister Theresa Ann’s first seven years of school were in a one-room schoolhouse in Dayton Prairie. During the summer, the family moved to the Greenville/Banks area, where she completed eighth grade at St. Francis School in Roy and graduated in May 1947. She still recalls the smell and smoke of the large Tillamook burn that summer. Four years later, she graduated from Banks High School.

In 1952, she entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon where she undertook training to become a nurse. Upon graduating from St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash. and taking state boards, she received her license as a practical nurse in July of 1962. The following year she was part of the staff to open Maryville Nursing Home, which celebrateD its 50th anniversary June 4.

In July of 1971, Sister Theresa Ann received an associate’s degree from Portland Community College and after state boards, and continued to serve as Maryville’s lead charge nurse. In July 2005, after 42 years of what she calls a joy-filled ministry, she retired from Maryville. She now lives at the motherhouse. She enjoys helping around the convent by peeling vegetables, driving Sisters to appointments and other duties.

For relaxation, she cared for flowers, especially roses, around the nursing home grounds. She has said that this hobby made “an important difference in the lives of their residents because they could look out their windows and see beauty.”

She retired from Maryville in 2005 and celebrated her 60th Jubilee in 2012. She now lives at the SSMO motherhouse in Beaverton. Still active at age 80, she drives her religious sisters to medical appointments, helps with grocery shopping and cares for the community’s vegetable garden.

“We have always known that Sister Theresa Ann is a jewel," said Kathleen Parry, president of Maryville Nursing Home and Memory Care. "Now it’s official. She is a diamond.”

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