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Sister Lydia Korson, OP


Korson, OP, Lydia of Grand Rapids (born Mary Lucille Korson in Suttons Bay, MI) died on October 12, 2020. She was 91 years old and a Dominican Sister for 71 years.  After completing a BA at Aquinas College, Sr. Lydia’s education was furthered by completing an MA in Elementary Education at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.  In Michigan, Sr. Lydia taught at St. Boniface, Bay City; St. Alphonsus, St. Thomas and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Grand Rapids; St. Mary’s, Gaylord; Holy Rosary Academy, Bay City; St. Mary Magdalen, Melvindale, St. Simon, Ludington; St. Mary, Charlevoix, and Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools, Traverse City. In New Mexico, Sr. Lydia taught at Our Lady of Belen and St. Mary’s, Belen; Our Lady of Fatima, Albuquerque. During many of these years she also served as principal, directed choirs, and produced musicals.  When Sister Lydia took over the principalship at St. Mary, Belen the school was about to close. She recruited certified and qualified staff and with the help of parishioners and volunteers improved the playground and its equipment as well as the interior and exterior of the school and the enrollment increased. By the time she left, the school was thriving again.  Years later when Sister Lydia was preparing to leave the Ludington Area Catholic School, she received a mock-serious letter from the Sheriff of Mason County, ordering her to remain as principal and threatening serious consequences if she failed to comply, e.g., loss of friendly smiles, sadness among friends and acquaintances, etc. The summons continued, “All kidding aside, we certainly hope you will reconsider your decision to leave as we feel that you have done a tremendous job at the school and your absence would truly be a loss to the community.” This was accompanied by a petition with 117 signatures urging her to remain. Sister Lydia stayed in Ludington for three more years.  Sr. Lydia’s philosophy of education can be summed up in her own words: “The goal of preparing students spiritually, academically, physically and socially is truly a team effort and is accomplished by a caring and dedicated staff who recognize and respond to the individual needs of students.”  Sr. Lydia is survived by her sisters Sister David Therese Korson (her twin) and Sister Peter Mary Korson of Grand Rapids, MI; Agnes Donner of Sparta, MI; Christine Gibson (Thomas) of Traverse City, MI; her brothers John Korson of Lake Leelanau, MI; Jerome Korson of Gills Pier, MI; nieces, nephews; many friends and members of her Dominican Community.  In an effort to protect our vulnerable population from the Covid-19 virus a private Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Dominican Chapel/Marywood on Thursday, October 15. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery. Memorials in Sister Lydia Korson’s name may be made to the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters.

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