Longtime Lourdes teacher mourned


Teresa Ann McKee, a longtime East Rockaway resident and a longtime teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Malverne, died on Dec. 29 of respiratory failure. She was 67.

McKee was born on Oct. 27, 1945, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and moved with her family to East Rockaway in 1957. She graduated from East Rockaway High School in 1963, and later earned a degree in history from Molloy College and a master’s in education from Hofstra University.

McKee began teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes School in 1970, said her sister, Kathleen Hartling, of Islip, and dedicated 42 years to the school before she retired in 2010. Hartling described her sister as a devoted educator who cherished her job and the interaction she had with coworkers and students.

“She taught many of the elementary grades — she loved her students,” Hartling said, adding that her sister enjoyed taking students on field trips when she could, including one to Ellis Island.

Hartling characterized her sister — who never married — as a caring and warmhearted person who was strongly family centered. “It’s a special relationship with a sister — it’s hard to describe,” she said. “You can fight with them, but no matter what, you’re always there for one another. You always love them.”

A wake was held for McKee on Jan. 2 and 3 at Perry Funeral Home in Lynbrook, which, family said, was a “packed house” each night, with friends and former students paying their respects. Roughly 150 people — including McKee’s sister, her brother, Robert McKee, 61, of Massapequa, and her four nephews — gathered for a funeral mass on Jan. 4 at St. Raymond’s Church in East Rockaway. McKee was buried in Holy Rood Cemetery.

Many, including her nephew and godson, Kevin Hartling, 24, described McKee as an active member of both the East Rockaway and Malverne communities, and said she was always someone who was willing to lend a helping hand. McKee was a member of the Bay Park Property Owners and Civic Association in East Rockaway, and, for a number of years, taught religious education at Our Lady of Lourdes.

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