Longtime teacher and principal Sister Teresa Honkomp, SSMN, dies at 89

North Texas Catholic
(Feb 13, 2023) Local

Sister Teresa Honkomp

Sister Teresa Honkomp in a 2011 North Texas Catholic file photo.

FORT WORTH — When Sister Teresa Honkomp announced her decision to join the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur after graduating high school in 1951, her parents, Mary and Gerhard Honkomp, were pleased but surprised.

“It was something she hadn’t talked about,” explained niece Judy Winaski, recalling Honkomp family history.

Like her eight siblings, the Wichita Falls native went to the Academy of Mary Immaculate where she became familiar with the religious order and its mission to educate and serve. Coming from a devout Catholic family also influenced her decision to enter the convent, Winaski surmised.

“Everybody went to Mass, and Grandma and Granddaddy (Teresa’s parents) went to daily Mass at 6 a.m.,” she continued. “She was exposed to a prayer life. It was part of the culture of the family.”

Sr. Teresa Honkomp, a Sister of St. Mary of Namur for more than 70 years, died January 26 at the age of 89. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated February 6 at St. Andrew Catholic Church.

She attended Our Lady of Victory College and earned her bachelor’s in education from Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio and later, a master’s in education from Texas Woman’s University. Sr. Teresa spent most of her life teaching in elementary and middle schools administered by the SSMNs in Texas, often serving concurrently as principal.

At a celebration marking her 60th year with the order in 2011, the jubilarian told the North Texas Catholic teaching children was her fondest memory.

“You can almost see the wheels moving in their minds,” she said. “And I loved teaching religion.”

After 30 years in education, Sr. Teresa spent a sabbatical semester at a retreat house in Hawkstone, England where she developed an interest in lighthouses.

Returning to Texas, the educator worked with the Sisters of the Incarnate Word at St. Vincent de Paul School in Houston for 10 years before rejoining her religious community at Our Lady of Victory Center in Fort Worth. For many years she taught religion at Our Lady of Victory School, often serving as principal when the regular administrator was absent. Her last assignment was teaching religion to first and second graders at OLV during the 2012-13 school year.

“I think she liked being with young children again in that little class that was hers,” said Winaski, a longtime OLV first-grade teacher.

Along with sharing her faith in the classroom, spending time with family was also important to the veteran educator.

“If there was a new baby, you knew Sr. Teresa would be holding it,” her niece added. “She knitted and embroidered like other members in our family who had those skills.”

Trudy Miller, a former principal at Our Lady of Victory School, remembered how Sr. Teresa’s presence in the office every Wednesday allowed her to complete coursework for a master’s degree.

“She was an excellent mentor to me as a new principal,” Miller said, noting how the part-time teacher also coordinated the monthly Mass and weekly liturgy services at the school, which closed its doors in 2021.

Sr. Teresa was always available to offer insight and guidance to others at OLV.

“It was wonderful to have Sr. Teresa on campus for the students to see that the SSMNs continued to love and support the school,” she said.

In retirement, the sister took art lessons and created paintings that merited entry in the Texas State Fair.

Sr. Teresa is survived by her brother Edward Honkomp, sister-in-law Louise Honkomp, niece Judy Winaski, and other cousins, nephews, and nieces.

Sister Teresa Honkomp, Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, Academy of Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Victory, trending-english