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Benedictine Sister Nivard Neft

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Sister Nivard Neft, 89, of St. Joseph, died Aug. 7, 2011 at Saint Scholastica Convent.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Aug. 11, 2011 at Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph. Burial was in the monastery cemetery.

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She was born April 1, 1922 in Shooks to Joseph and Opal (Young) Neft. She graduated from elementary school in Shooks and attended Kelliher High School in Kelliher.

On Aug. 19, 1940, she came to Saint Benedict's Monastery. She graduated from Saint Benedict's High School in 1941; entered the novitiate June 22, 1943; made first monastic profession July 11, 1944 and perpetual monastic profession July 11, 1947. Her golden jubilee in 1997 and 60th anniversary in 2007 were happy occasions.

She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a bachelor's degree in home economics. In 1952, she was certified as a medical technician at St. Cloud Hospital. She studied chemistry at Weber State University, Ogden, UT and in 1971, she was awarded a PhD degree in chemistry from Utah State University in Logan, UT. She also studied biochemistry at the University of Minnesota.

Although her primary teaching ministry was at the college level, she began by teaching home economics at White Earth and general science at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. She served as a lab technician at St. Cloud Hospital and at Clinica Font Martelo in Humacao, Puerto Rico.

From 1959 through 1977, she pursued her science career in Utah. She began as head medical technician and medical technology instructor at St. Benedict's Hospital in Ogden where she was later a research director. After receiving her PhD in chemistry, she held an associate professorship in the School of Allied Health at Weber State University.

In 1977, she returned to Minnesota and taught chemistry at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University. In 1985, she was selected as a National Institute of Health Extramural Associate, where she learned to write research grants.

After an active teaching career, she served as community life coordinator at St. Raphael's Convent in St. Cloud and in the business office at Saint Benedict's Monastery. She retired to Saint Scholastica Convent in 1999.

She is survived by her Benedictine community and five sisters, Margaret Erickson, Leona Mayer, Rosemary Smischney, Mildred Olson and Evelyn Leach.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Leonard and four sisters, Josephine Thum, Helen Hufnagle, Alma Collins and Agnes Gitzen.

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