Sister Therese Blecha died January 4, 2021, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, KS. She was 79 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 57 years. She was born in Belleville, KS, on April 15, 1941, to Ernest and Eleanor (Baxa) Blecha, the second of six children, and was baptized Eloise Ann. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, KS on September 8, 1962. On August 14, 1963, Eloise received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Therese. She pronounced first vows on August 15, 1964 and final vows on August 15, 1969.
Sister Therese began her undergraduate studies at Marymount College in 1959. Upon completion of her novitiate she returned to Marymount and completed her BS degree with a double major in chemistry and biology in 1965. For the next four years she taught in Boonville, MO before returning to Sacred Heart High School in Salina where she taught from 1969-1971. Therese began graduate work in 1973 and by 1976 she had completed all course work for her Master’s Degree and then a second Master’s Degree. By 1981 she completed her research project in organic chemistry and received her Ph.D. from Kansas State University. She returned to Marymount to serve on the faculty from 1976 until the college closed in 1989. From 1989 until 1993 she taught Chemistry at St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, IN.
In 1993 she was appointed as General Treasurer of the Congregation; a position she held until retiring in 2008. In 2012 she was elected to the Leadership Council of the Congregation; followed by being elected Vice President of the Congregation in 2016. Her term ended in July of 2020.
Sister Therese was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her brothers Richard of Salina and David of Munden; sisters Marjorie Schmitz and Marie Chmidling of Topeka and Cathie Switzer of Concordia, Kansas. The Mass of Christian Burial will be January 7 at 10:30 a.m. in the Motherhouse Auditorium with Rev. Barry Brinkman presiding. The eulogist is S. Jean Rosemarynoski. Due to the safety precautions for Covid-19, the funeral mass will be private. However, it will be livestreamed on the Sisters of St. Joseph Facebook page. The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput-Buoy Funeral Home, 325 W. 6th St., Concordia, KS is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials for Sister Therese Blecha may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/ Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O. Box 279, Concordia, KS 66901.
Online condolences may be left at www.chaputbuoy.com or www.tibbettsfischerfuneralhome.com