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Sister Becky Dobbels

October 9, 1956 - November 25, 2007   |   Passed On

`God inspires all and brings us to fulfillment. May God protect you always by divine grace, so that you may fulfill your call to Eucharist, ministry, and responsibility.` Early in her religious life, Sister Becky heard these words that became a theme for her life.

Tonight we gather to acknowledge the life journey of Sister Rebecca Dobbels. No one liked to travel any more than Sister Becky Dobbels. Sisters in our community have often remembered Sister Alberta and Sister Jerome as always having a foot out whenever a car was going anywhere, and that they were sad when a car went and they were not in it.That can also be said about Becky who was always ready to go whether in the Dobbels RV, her car, a bus, or a plane. Neither her commitment to religious life as a Sister of Humility or to her nursing profession changed that.

Rebecca Dobbels was born in Moline, Illinois, on October 9, 1956, the oldest child of Donna Nelson Dobbels and Robert J. Dobbels and spent her childhood on a farm in Cambridge, Illinois. She is survived by her parents; brother Lanny; sisters Julie Fransene, Cheryl Valek; many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Becky attended services and religious education classes at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Cambridge and graduated from Galva High School in Galva, Illinois. She continued her education at Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, earning a BSN degree in nursing in 1978. In those days, Becky often traveled on her motorcycle to classes. After graduation she worked at Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa, before entering the Congregation of the Humility of Mary on June 13, 1979. During her novitiate years, Becky began traveling (not on her motorcycle) to St. Norbert’s College in De Per, Wisconsin, where she took classes and earned a certificate in theology from the Theology Institute. Sister Becky continued her ministry as a staff nurse at Mercy Hospital until 1988 at which time she moved to Iowa City, Iowa. There she worked in the bone marrow transplant unit at the University of Iowa Hospital. That same year she earned a certificate in oncology nursing. At the time of her death she was working in the chemotherapy and radiation clinic at University Hospitals and Clinics.

Sister Becky always appeared to me as a courageous traveler whether it was pursuing her ministry in such a high stress area of medicine, coming to Davenport in all kinds of weather to participate in CHM activities, going home for family celebrations, or hitting the road in the camper for vacations. Nothing exemplified her leader take-charge personality better than often being the cross bearer for our Sunday liturgies here at Humility of Mary Center. As a recognized leader she was rarely a passenger. She was born to be a driver and got an early start on her father’s tractor. Her travels often led her to forge new paths as when she was one of the first sisters to join the nursing staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She proudly displayed `Sister` on her nametag, wore a cross and a ring. Her co-workers respected her and the life she had chosen. For Becky, coming to Davenport or to her home each weekend was a given. She served on and was chairperson of several CHM committees, and in the mid-1990s was president of the Davenport Diocesan Sister’s Council. Her weekend trips to Davenport more often than not included touching base with family.

She was also a leader both in use of the computer and rubber stamping. Sister made many different kinds of cards and sent a birthday and a Christmas card to each CHM Sister as well as to relatives and friends. During her weekly visit to the Center she was often called upon to help sisters get out of a jam with their computers. On the display table is a wonderful memory book of photographs taken on vacations with Sister Gretchen and her parents. These have been processed through her computer to the book. Sister Becky probably traveled almost as many miles walking the corridors of the University Hospitals and Clinics as she did on her trips to Belgium, France, New England, Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee, Branson, Lake Superior, New Mexico, Arizona and the Grand Canyon, Montana, Villa Maria, and others I have probably missed.

Her death has been a shock to all of us. he died minutes after receiving our Lord in the Eucharist. He evidently decided that it was time for her to travel in a new place. We can be sure that Becky has put aside the tractor, the motorcycle, and car for some heavenly means of transportation to explore new frontiers.

Sister Micheline Curtis, CHM
November 29, 2007 

Date Memorial Added: Dec 04, 2007