Sister Ramona Kaalberg, CHM, 83, died July 3, 2021, at Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston, Iowa. There will be a Visitation Thursday, July 8th from 4-6pm at Dunn’s Funeral Home in Des Moines, followed by a Vigil Service at 6pm. A Private Memorial Service will be held in Des Moines. Visitation at Humility of Mary Magnifcat Chapel, Davenport, will be held from 4-7pm Friday, July 9th. There will be a private Rosary at 4pm and a Vigil Service at 7pm. For a link to the Vigil Service, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . There will be a Private Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, July 10th. With burial following in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport.
Ramona Marie Kaalberg was born February 16, 1938, in Iowa City, IA to Frank and Marie Milder Kaalberg. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) in 1956 and professed vows in 1959.
Sister received an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Ottumwa Heights College in Ottumwa, IA, a BA in social science from Marycrest College in Davenport, IA, an MA and PhD in education and psychology from George Peabody College in Nashville, TN, and a certificate in spiritual direction and directed retreats from Creighton University in Omaha, NE, as well as post graduate work at the Institute of Ministry at Loras College in Dubuque, IA, and at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA.
Sr. Ramona’s ministry of teaching began at St. Joseph School in Neola, IA. She also taught at St. Alphonsus School, Davenport, IA, St. Anthony School, Des Moines, and Sacred Heart School, Ottumwa. Sister Ramona served at the CHM House of Prayer, Project Renewal, and as CHM Formation Coordinator, all in Davenport. She was a member of the Davenport Citizen Advisory Committee which worked to achieve racial balance in the public schools. She served in the Diocese of Des Moines St. Joseph Educational Center for adult religious education and spiritual formation and as a pastoral minister at St. Anthony Parish.
She was an Associate Professor at Marycrest College, Davenport, from 1972 to 1984. From 1984-1988, she served as CHM president. The Marycrest Alumni Association gave Sister Ramona their College Alumnae Association Service Award in 1981. At the 50th graduation exercises in 1989, Marycrest College bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, citing her outstanding leadership roles in higher education.
Sr. Ramona lived many years in the New Hope Community she helped initiate in the Des Moines Riverbend Neighborhood. It was a place of caring presence and spiritual renewal where she could exercise her gifts of loving compassion, hospitality and generosity.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Dolores Suchomel and Kathleen Pettigrew, infant brother, Joseph, and two brothers-in-law.
Survivors include her brother, Gayle F. (Carol) Kaalberg of Nichols, Iowa, nephews Kory Kaalberg, Kyle Kaalberg, Kurt Suchomel, Mark Suchomel, and Jon Pettigrew and nieces Katina Kaalberg, Rita Dudley, Anne Miller, Jane Carlson, Joan Suchomel and their families including 30 great and great-great nieces and nephews. She is also survived by the members and associates of her CHM community.
Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.