Sister Mary Helen Kuc, a longtime hospital administrator, died Tuesday in Colette Hilbert Care Community, Hamburg. She was 89.
She was born Helen Leocadia Kuc in Lynn, Mass., and on Oct. 4, 1938, entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph as a postulant. Sister Helen professed her final vows July 10, 1943.
Sister Helen earned a bachelor's degree in business administration as an accounting major at St. John's University, then in Brooklyn, and an MBA in hospital administration from Wagner College, Staten Island.
For 62 years, Sister Helen served in hospital administration, with assignments at St. Anthony's Home for the Aged, Hamburg; St. Mary's Hospital, Brooklyn; and St. Joseph Hospital, Cheektowaga.
In 2003, she retured to the motherhouse, where she served as an assistant to the local minister of the Colette Hilbert Health Center. She also served on the chapel team for the sacristy and carried out assigned duties in the mailroom.
As an administrator at St. Joseph Hospital, Sister Helen's "extensive background and experience were vital" in the construction of the coronary/intensive-care unit and a new ambulatory services department. Because of her dedication, she was named a Citizen of the Year for her contribution to human services in the community.
Known for her infectious smile, spirituality and willingness to help when needed, she was referred to recently by one her colleagues as a "gentle breeze passing through my life."
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Friday in Immaculate Conception Convent Chapel, 4286 South Park Ave., Hamburg.