Sept. 25, 1944 – June 14, 2014

Teresa Marie Coppola, a longtime Catholic Diocese of Buffalo school educator, teacher and principal, died Saturday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital Hospice Unit, Town of Tonawanda, after a seven-year battle with cancer. She was 69.

Born in Buffalo and raised in Orchard Park, she attended Nativity of Our Lord School and graduated from Mount Mercy Academy in June 1962.

In September 1962, Ms. Coppola entered the Sisters of Mercy, where she was a member of the order for 16 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Sancta Maria College and Mount St. Joseph Teachers College, and a master’s degree in theology from Canisius College.

She taught at various schools in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo from 1966 to 2007, including Holy Family, South Buffalo; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lake View; St. James, Jamestown; Mount Mercy Academy, Buffalo; Madonna High School, Niagara Falls; and Niagara Catholic High School, Niagara Falls. While at Madonna High School, she was assistant principal and principal from 1972 through 1976.

She played an important part in planning the merger of Bishop Duffy High School and Madonna High School into Niagara Catholic High School.

Ms. Coppola is survived by her husband, Howard Pirong; three sisters, Florence Webber, Joan Stadelmaier and JoEllen Murphy; and two brothers, Ralph and Joseph.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church, 57 Center Ave., North Tonawanda.