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BELMONT — Mercy Sister Mary Jerome Spradley died Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at Sacred Heart Convent in Belmont. She was 92 years old and had been professed as a Sister of Mercy for 72 years.

A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Sacred Heart Convent Chapel.

Interment will follow at Belmont Abbey Cemetery. All services are private because of COVID-19 restrictions, but there will be a memorial celebration at a later date.

Born near Belmont in Stanley, Sister Mary Jerome enjoyed claiming Gaston County as her birthplace. She was the daughter of Espy Dewitt Spradley and Ferrill Edith Poole.

She graduated from the Mercy School of Nursing and, shortly afterward, realized her calling to the Catholic Church and to religious life. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She also graduated from the executive Graduate Program in Health Care from the University of South Carolina.

At age 35, Sister Mary Jerome was named administrator of Mercy Hospital. She served on various North Carolina Hospital Association committees. In addition, she served on the Governor’s Board of Ethics in North Carolina, as well as several other boards of directors in Sisters of Mercy ministries. She was a life member fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives.

Among her honors, she was named Outstanding Career Woman of the Year in Medicine and related fields by the Central Charlotte Association. She received honorary degrees from Belmont Abbey College and Sacred Heart College.

She served as a general councilor of the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina and chair of the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation.

Sister Mary Jerome’s life has been one of service – fulfilling her ring motto, “Now not I, but Christ.” – and her accomplishments were many and impressive. She is best known for faithfulness, dependency and consistency and for building construction. It was suggested that, at Mercy Hospital, she moved at least one wall per week. She may have accomplished almost everything she wanted, except learning to play the piano.

She was predeceased by her parents, her brother Scott, and her sister Ferrill. She is survived by the Sisters of Mercy; her nieces, Shirley Kennerly and Melissa Gorman, both of Concord; and her nephew, Scott, of Flagler Beach, Fla.

Memorials may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy, 101 Mercy Drive, Belmont, NC  28012.