Sky Scene 05

Patricia Ann McAdams

February 28, 1942 ~ August 1, 2022 (age 80) 80 Years Old


Patricia Ann McAdams (Sister Joseph Kieran, IHM) ended her journey on earth on August 1, 2022, as she walked peacefully into the arms of God. Patricia was born on Feb 28, 1942, the fourth child of Frank and Helen (nee Tierney) McAdams. Patricia is survived by her nine siblings.  

Patricia was preceded in death by her parents and nephew Bob McAdams. She is survived by her sisters and brothers: Helen Fallon (Mike), Camille (Sister Helen Loretta, IHM), Frank (JoAnne), Ann McAdams, SSJ, Jim (Dolores), David (Nancy), Marylou Palilonis (Charlie), Rob (Eileen) and Therese. She is also survived by 16 nieces and nephews and their spouses as well as 25 grand nieces and nephews.

Patricia attended St Leo Elementary School in Tacony, Philadelphia. She was always the youngest in her class, because her birthday was the cutoff date for the school year. Patricia was taught and formed by the Sisters of St Joseph from kindergarten through 12th grade.

When Patricia was in the eighth grade, Mother Victorine, SSJ, encouraged Patricia to take the scholarship test for Mount St. Joseph Academy. She was awarded a four-year Scholarship to attend. “The Mount,” at that time, was co-located on the grounds of Chestnut Hill College. Patricia had some great times making the daily trek to The Mount on a train, trolley, and bus, especially after her family moved to Newtown, Bucks County.

Though never a player, Patricia became very involved with Women’s Basketball at The Mount where they played in the gym on the fifth floor of the school. There was no electric scoreboard, just cardboard numbers to slide onto a hook. Patricia was tall and, by standing on a windowsill, she was able to change the score on the hooks.

Upon graduation from The Mount, Patricia was awarded a full scholarship to continue her education at Chestnut Hill College. However, after the first year, she decided to follow her sister Camille and her four Tierney Aunts to the Immaculate Heart of Mary religious order in West Chester, PA.

As a Sister of IHM, Patricia received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Immaculata College. She received her Master’s in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 where she became good friends with Fr Ted Hesburgh.

Patricia taught at several high schools in both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Harrisburg as well as at Immaculata College. She taught math to about half of the “Mighty Macs” of basketball fame at Immaculata. This included Theresa Shank-Grentz, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coach. Theresa coached Muffet McGraw while at St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

While still in religious life, Patricia’s interest in computers came to the fore. She became the first person to receive a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Missouri in 1977.

As time went on, Patricia became responsible for all the computers in the Diocese of Harrisburg where she installed the first IBM computers with hard drives. Her position required her to order, maintain, update, troubleshoot, and program all the PCs for each parish in the diocese.

After 30 plus years in the convent, Patricia was called to new things. She left the convent and found herself teaching Math and Computer Science at Pikeville College in Kentucky. While on spring break in 1992, Patricia decided to visit her niece, Christina McAdams, who was a student at the University of Notre Dame.  While there, Patricia visited her old friend, Fr Ted. After talking for a while, Fr Ted suggested that Patricia apply for a position at the University. He picked up the phone and arranged a meeting with the IT department.

Patricia did apply and was hired to program, install, and maintain the computers/phones/electronic devices for all the officers of the university, who were mostly in the Main Building – the Golden Dome. Her life became the University for the next 30 years in service to the faculty, staff, and students.

In her spare time, Patricia’s love of Women’s Basketball provided an outlet for all her energy. As a volunteer, she became head of Fan Engagement and coordinated dozens of volunteers to assist with game promotions, bus trips, and selling season tickets. Her methods of bringing more people into the Joyce Center are now being considered and modeled by other sports on the ND campus. Her efforts led to the first Women’s Basketball game sell out--the first regular season win over UConn in 2001.

Fourteen years ago, in 2008, Patricia was involved in a terrible accident. It was a miserable January night, and Patricia was on her way home to South Bend from the women’s game in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Patricia lost both of her legs and had other numerous life-threatening injuries. Her life was saved by the wonderful work of the Ashley Fire Department and Sheriff Officers of Steuben County, Indiana. The doctors in Parkview Hospital ER in Fort Wayne were fantastic and were amazed at the outpouring of support and visitors for Patricia during her in-patient stay.

Patricia’s determination showed forth. She was back at work doing what she loved in less than six months! The administration, staff, and her colleagues at Notre Dame are tremendous and worked diligently to always stay one step ahead of her needs and accommodations to maintain her fierce independence.

About five years ago, Patricia retired from her technology position at ND. She did not retire from her volunteer work with Women’s Basketball. That she continued until the day her most recent illness put her in the hospital for 21 days.

Patricia never complained or questioned the accident or the many trials that came after that. She did wonder God’s purpose for her to remain on earth and strove every day to serve others, work, drive, travel, and live independently.  In the sharing of stories and remembrances, it’s clear that she was here to bring forth good in the world, serve others, and make an impact in the lives of everyone she encountered – a true saint on earth!

A Funeral Mass will be offered at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, IN at 3:30 PM on Monday, August 29, 2022. Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Ft Wayne/South Bend will preside. A dinner with an opportunity to publicly share remembrances will follow the committal at Cedar Grove Cemetery. Family and friends are encouraged to park in the Joyce Center parking lot. Palmer Funeral Home—Hickey Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements.

Mass of Christian Burial will be livestreamed:

Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to: The Northeast Neighborhood Food Pantry, Northeast Neighborhood Center, 803 Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617.

In her generosity, Patricia dedicated a tree outside the Women’s Basketball facility in honor of the McAdams family. Her ND colleagues and family request donations for a memorial bench to be placed under the McAdams Tree.  Donations can be directed to: The Office of Development, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

Online condolences may be left for the family at


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Mass of Christian Burial
August 29, 2022

3:30 PM
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556


McAdams Memorial Bench, Office of Development
University of Notre Dame, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame IN 46556
Tel: 1-574-631-5150

Northeast Neighborhood Food Pantry
803 Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend IN 46617


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