Sister Luz Maria Orozco, CHM, 87, died Sept. 13 at the home of a friend in Pittsburgh. She was an educator who spent many years at the former Marycrest College in Davenport and other schools.
She was born Nov. 3, 1933, in Mexico City, México, to Isidro Orozco Portugal and María del Rosario Martínez Aragón de Orozco. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1958 and professed vows in 1960.
Sister received a double BA degree in French and English from Marycrest College in 1956 and completed her MA in English at Marquette University in Milwaukee, just weeks before entering the congregation. She earned a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and was a two-time English Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University in England. Sister Orozco did post-graduate work at Notre Dame College in Waterloo, Canada, and was a scholar and visiting professor at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Her ministry in education shifted frequently between that of the student and teacher. After completing her MA, she was an English professor at Marycrest. She embarked on nearly a decade of post-graduate studies before spending the 1986-87 academic year as a visiting professor at Yale. She also retained her regular appointment as a professor of English and Spanish at Marycrest College/Marycrest International University. When Marycrest closed in 2002, she served as a substitute teacher at Assumption High School in Davenport.
Sister Orozco was a recipient of the Danforth Teacher Grant and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Independent Higher Education Teaching Excellence Award. In 1993, she was inducted into the World Who’s Who of Women for her contribution to academia. When a reporter asked her in 1985 why she entered teaching, she responded, “This was obviously the best way of uniting my Spanish heritage and my British education and my French major” (Rock Island Argus). She strove for balance in her life and had an aversion to being one-sided.
In addition to her academic pursuits, she embraced athleticism and enjoyed volleyball, tennis, swimming and skateboarding. She was an avid writer of everything, from formal scholarly articles and letters to the editor to award-winning poetry. Above all, she embraced humor.
Services took place Sept. 25 in St. John Fisher Church in Churchill, Pennsylvania. Private services were held Sept. 27 and a Memorial Mass was celebrated Sept. 28 at the Humility of Mary Center in Davenport.
Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.