Sister Mary St. John Hall, a Sacramento native who was a leader in health care and the Sisters of Mercy, died Saturday at 83.
She had Parkinson's disease and dementia, said Sister Susan McCarthy of the Sisters of Mercy campus in Auburn.
After becoming a nun, Sister Hall drew on early business skills to advance in the health care industry. Besides leading hospitals and a seniors residence, she was a former chairwoman of Catholic Healthcare West and served on the Mercy Foundation board.
"She always had good business sense," McCarthy said.
Born July 27, 1929, to John and Mary Dillon Hall, Sister Hall graduated from St. Joseph Academy, a Catholic high school for girls on the site of the present Sacramento County Courthouse jury parking lot downtown. She took business classes at then-Sacramento Junior College and went to work as a secretary for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.
After five years as secretary to Bishop Robert Armstrong, she joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1955 and took her final vows in 1963. She earned a business degree at University of San Francisco and a master's degree in health care administration from St. Louis University.
She worked for eight years at Mercy General Hospital, starting in the business office and rising to associate administrator. From 1976 to 1986, she was administrator of Mercy San Juan Hospital. She retired in 2000 after nine years as chief executive officer of Mercy McMahon Terrace, a seniors residence.
Sister Hall also previously served on the general council of the Sisters of Mercy in Auburn. She was an assistant to the Auburn group's president from 1986 to 1990.
"She was a very upbeat woman," McCarthy said. "She always looked at the bright side of life."
Sister Hall was predeceased by her sister, Anna, and brother, John. She is survived by two cousins, Sister Jeremy Carmody of Reno and Mary Ellen Masters of Sacramento.
Visitation is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a vigil service at 6 p.m. at W.F. Gormley & Sons Chapel, 2015 Capitol Ave., Sacramento. A Mass of Christian burial is set for 11 a.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Church, 1040 39th St., Sacramento.
Donations in memory of Sister Hall may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 535 Sacramento St., Auburn, CA 95603; or any charity.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.