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Jan. 14, 1927 – Aug. 10, 2014

Sister Francine Evans, who worked with small children for more than 50 years, primarily at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, died Sunday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a long period of fragile health. She was 87.

Born Mary Evans in Hazleton, Pa., she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in September 1946 and pronounced her vows in August 1949. She attended Medaille College.

She began her career at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, teaching for 12 years in the primary department, then taught at several diocesan elementary schools. She spent seven years at St. Joseph School for Exceptional Children in Dunkirk.

She returned to St. Mary’s in 1971, serving until 2000 as a teacher’s aide, teacher assistant and volunteer in the elementary department office.

For several years after she retired to the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence in Clarence, she continued in volunteer clerical service at the school.

“She had wonderful rapport with the children and staff,” said Sister Phyllis Connors, a longtime teacher at St. Mary’s.

Survivors include a sister, Esther Zelenak.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence, 4975 Strickler Road, Clarence.