Sister Mary Richard, 101, teacher, principal

July 05, 2002|By Kimberly Wilson | Kimberly Wilson,SUN STAFF

Sister Mary Richard Cozzens, R.S.M., a longtime teacher and former principal at St. Bernard's Parochial School in Waverly, died Tuesday of natural causes. She was 101.

Born two days shy of President William McKinley's re-election in 1900 and given the name Grace Harrington Cozzens, she was raised in Washington, along with 10 brothers and sisters.

Her father, Richard Elsworth Cozzens, was born in 1861, the year the Civil War began; his wife, Mary Ellen Brady, was born in 1865, the year it ended.

Sister Richard, a middle child, graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the former Mount St. Agnes College in Baltimore before joining the order of Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1925 and professing her final vows in 1931.

She was a fixture in area parochial schools for 45 years, beginning as a teacher at St. Bernard's and later serving as a principal there. She was a librarian for two years but mostly taught seventh and eighth grades.

There were nearly 20 other assignments, including those at the St. Joseph's Parochial School in Cockeysville, St. Mary's School in Rockville, and The Shrine of the Sacred Heart School in Mount Washington.

"Teachers whom she assisted, they expressed she was most helpful to them when they were starting out," said her friend, Sister Mary Anselm.

Sister Mary Richard retired in 1972 and moved to The Villa just north of Baltimore in 1979. She remained active, attending daily Mass in the chapel, playing bingo and watching video travelogues.

"She was up and around until about three or four days before she died," Sister Anselm said.

Sister Richard is survived by several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the chapel at The Villa, 6806 Bellona Ave., Baltimore.

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