Sister Dolores H. Wittmann, who taught science in several local Catholic schools and ministered in Africa for three years, died Monday in St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville. She was 79.
Formerly known as Sister Helen Marie, Sister Dolores was born in Orchard Park and entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1944 after her graduation from Orchard Park High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in general science from Canisius College and a master's in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame.
Sister Dolores was certified in New York to teach chemistry, general science and physics. Her teaching assignments included St. Mary's in Swormville, St. Gerard's in Buffalo and Fourteen Holy Helpers in Gardenville. She then went on to teach chemistry, physics and math at Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsville and Archbishop Carroll and Turner high schools in Buffalo.
Later, her ministry took her to Africa for three years. She worked in the mission of St. Elizabeth in Timau, Kenya, where she learned to love the culture and different pace of life there, fellow sisters said.
From 1988 to 1997, Sister Dolores ran the computer labs at St. Anselm's School and St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Chicago. She returned to Western New York in 1998, where she cooked for her fellow sisters at St. Aloysius Convent in Springville. In 2004, she moved to St. Mary of the Angels Health Center in Williamsville.
Fellow sisters said she will be remembered "for her deeply prayerful and gentle ways," as well as being an avid gardener, cook and classical music enthusiast.
Sister Dolores is survived by three brothers, Bernard Wittmann of Orchard Park, Brother Luke of Buffalo and John Olejniczak of Orchard Park, and two sisters, Helen Koch of Colden and Ann Marie Kokash of Florida.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Mary of the Angels Chapel, 201 Reist St., Williamsville. Burial will be in Gethsemane Cemetery on the convent grounds.