Sister Winifred Danwitz (baptismal name Helen) died peacefully at Andrus on Hudson on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. She was 93. Her achievement and legacy was in 1961 when she founded and then administered until 1997 the Mount St. Ursula Speech Center, serving at risk children with speech and hearing disabilities. The Speech Center continues its distinctive service to the present.
In 1936 Winifred graduated from Hunter College High School and went on to earn a BA from Hunter College in 1940. She earned an MA in Speech from Brooklyn College in 1941. She entered the Ursulines in 1945 and made her first vows on February 6, 1948. Her first ministry was at the College of New Rochelle (CNR) where she taught speech from 1948 to 1959. She next taught at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula until 1965. In 1970 she earned a Ph.D. in Communication Disorders at CUNY.
During her years heading the Speech Center, she was adjunct professor at Fordham University, Hunter College, and Iona College, and CNR. For 4 years, 1967-1971, she was director of speech therapy for the Archdiocese of New York. From 1975 she was professor of special education at CNR, and from 1980 to 1987 she was Coordinator of the Program in Language Learning in the Graduate School at CNR. She retired in 1987. After years in education, in 1997 she founded Angela House, a transitional residence for homeless women and their children, preparing them for the workplace and to gain skills for independent living. She served as Executive Director until 2006.
Winifred received many awards for her teaching and service in communication, such as the Nitchie Award in Human Communication, from Bronx Organization for Learning Disabled, Association of Teachers of New York, and the NY Orton Dyslexia Society. She was a member or served on the Boards of speech societies such as NY Speech, Language and Hearing Association, the Orton Dyslexia Society, and NY Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice.
Winifred was born to Winifred O’Shea and Eric Danwitz on June 25, 1920 in Poughkeepsie, NY. She was predeceased by her parents, and her sister Lillian; she has several nieces and nephews. Wake will be held at The Province Center Chapel, 1338 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804 on Friday, May 2 from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will held there on Saturday, May 3 at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In place of flowers, gifts may be sent to the Ursuline Retirement Fund at the Ursuline Provincialate, 1338 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804.