Sister M. Ann Francis Klimkowski, OSF
“My sister is gone. My special friend, confidante, giggle partner, gambling sidekick. She’s at peace. R.I.P. Ann Fran.”
The text from Carol, the last sibling in Sister Ann Francis’s family of eight sisters and brothers, expresses the thoughts and feelings of many of Sister Ann Francis’s family members, friends and her Sisters in Community. She was born to Alex and Mary Klimkowski on January 1, 1931 in Wyandotte, Michigan and she died at Rosary Care Center in Sylvania, Ohio on September 5, 2022. Sister Ann Francis entered the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis in Sylvania in 1953 and professed her first vows in 1955 and her final vows in 1958.
She spent her 67 years in religious life using the many gifts and talents God gave her to make the world a better place, especially for the poor, the underserved, and women. The major focus of her years of ministry was education at many levels. She was well prepared with a B.A. in Business Administration, an M.A. in Education from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toledo in Higher Education Administration. Sister Ann Francis taught in elementary and high schools in Ohio and Michigan and served as principal in an elementary school in Minnesota and as an associate principal at Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon, Ohio.
After receiving her doctorate, Sister Ann Francis focused on advancing the mission and goals of Lourdes College where she served as President for 17 years. She was outstanding for her leadership moving the institution into a four-year college and establishing the groundwork for future bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Lourdes College. She also encouraged educational outreach programs like the lifelong learning program and the Life Lab.
Sister’s leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work were also recognized in the larger community where she served the Toledo Sister Cities International organization, Marcy Kaptur’s Anastasia Foundation, the Toledo-Poznan Alliance, as well as several other boards. She also was recognized for her character and moral integrity by receiving numerous awards over the years from civic and religious organizations like the YWCA Milestone Award for Education and the Centenary Award for Outstanding Service in the Diocese of Toledo.
There are many more things that could be shared about this unique and wonderful woman, and if Sister Ann Francis could have summed up her own life she would probably tell us that servant leadership was her style, that she enjoyed being a Franciscan in love with all of creation, and with one of her oft-quoted lines from John Henry Cardinal Newman, “…to be perfect is to have changed often.” And change she did over her 91 years of life.
She will be missed by her sister Carol Chojnowski (Tony), several nieces and nephews, countless men and women whose lives she has touched over the years, and her Sisters in Community.
Visitation for Sister Ann Francis will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2022 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel where the funeral Mass will follow at 4 p.m. Livestreaming can be found at https://video.ibm.com/channel/RvdadQRjbGk.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, Ohio.