Sister Lois McDonough, 87, a longtime administrator and fundraiser at Gwynedd-Mercy College, died Wednesday, Nov. 1, of heart disease at McAuley Convent in Merion.
Sister Lois was a member of the Sisters of Mercy’s Mid-Atlantic Community, a religious order of 900 nuns centered in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. She entered the community in August 1956 and pledged her vows in June 1964. Last year, she celebrated her 60th jubilee.
Born in Dunmore, Pa., Sister Lois graduated from Dunmore High School in 1948. She earned a bachelor’s degree in the humanities from Gwynedd-Mercy and a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan.
Her first job was as an elementary teacher at what is now Waldron Mercy Academy, Merion.
In 1962, she was hired as the registrar of Gwynedd-Mercy and went on to become director of admissions and vice president of institutional advancement. In the latter role, she was instrumental in staging and promoting the college’s capital campaign. The institution would become Gwynedd Mercy University in 2013.
One of her favorite fundraising methods was golf outings. In September 1991, in the runup to the college’s fifth annual golf tournament, she was photographed with local businessmen Frank Genuardi, a supermarket chain founder, and Jay Haenn, president of Lansdale Chrysler-Plymouth. The promotional material was included in a 2006 history of the college.
In recognition of her contributions to Gwynedd-Mercy College, the institution established the Sister Lois McDonough Scholarship. The scholarship is given each year to a full-time undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Over the years, she became responsible for the marketing and development of the Gwynedd Mercy Academy Elementary School in Spring House. She also served on the board and the development committee of Waldron Mercy Academy.
“In all her endeavors, she brought a spirit of compassion, as well as many talents for leadership,” said Sister Maureen Murray, her colleague in the religious order.
Sister Lois had a gift for identifying those in need within the secular community and crafting ways to help them, which the religious order said is part of its mission. While serving as president of the board of the HealthLink Medical Center in Southampton, Bucks County, she organized a program to provide medical and dental care for low-income working adults in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
Sister Lois had a great love of family and enjoyed traveling to the West Coast to visit.
“She worked hard and played hard, often competing in golfing events. Her golfing friends enjoyed her company and were challenged by her competitive spirit,” Sister Maureen said. “We will miss her warm smile and engaging personality.”
Sister Lois is survived by a brother, Robert; sisters Elizabeth Tominey, Anne Blatnick, and Claire Nolan; and nieces and nephews.
A viewing from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the chapel at the Convent of Mercy, 515 Montgomery Ave., Merion Station, Pa. 19066, will be followed by a 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial. Interment is at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Sisters of Mercy Cemetery, on the grounds of the convent.
Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community at the address above.