Muriel Mary Rada, Ph.D.
October 31, 1950 – December 22, 2021
Friends are welcome to celebrate Muriel’s life with a Valentines Tea reception Saturday, February 12th at West Center Chapel from 1:30pm to 2:30pm.
Memorials are suggested to Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province, St. Mary University, UMKC English Department, UNL English Department, Metro Community College.
To view a live broadcast of the Tea Party, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Child of the ’60s, eldest of six, daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt, friend, educator, poet, playwright, artist, chef, baker, survivor, activist, lover of life, learning, holidays, and big dogs.
Muriel was born in Chicago to Irwin C. and Mary (Andrews) Rada. The move to Omaha took her to Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart where her love of learning began. She attended St. Mary College in Leavenworth, Kansas, where she received a grant to establish a Free University program to explore contemporary issues, a novel idea in the early 70’s. She was named the Outstanding Senior and graduated in 1972 with a double major in English and French.
Muriel attended the University of Missouri in Kansas City, earning her Master of Arts in English in 1974. Her career began at Metropolitan Community College as a teacher of written and oral communication as well as literature. An interesting class was technical writing for students in the automotive department!
Muriel was well-published and a frequent presenter at national conferences. She coordinated the Adopt a School Program for her writing students with 2nd graders at Miller Park in Omaha. They would send letters during the semester and end with a picnic on the Metro campus. She organized French Weekends with her friend, Carolyn, where youngsters stayed at her home, prepared French dishes, used a passport and francs, explored French culture and art, and learned travel vocabulary.
Her love of learning continued and culminated with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in 1991. Her dissertation was entitled The Relationship Between Voice and Power: A Case Study of the Internal Acquisition and Development of Personal Expressive Voice. She taught herself Portuguese to read research done by Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher.
Muriel’s teaching was constant, in and out of the classroom. If you complemented a holiday cookie, she would immediately ask if you would like to learn to make it. She enjoyed hosting teas, especially for her speech students. They came to her home, presented their demonstration speeches, and learned about Victorian tea etiquette. Her annual Valentine’s Day teas were delightful and delicious!
Muriel traveled to England, France, and Russia to visit sites of literary and historical interest and to arrange student exchanges. She went to St. Anne’s School in Iowa to share her collection of Russian art, dolls, and souvenirs with her nieces’ classes. She went to Princeton to read Teacher Exams for Educational Testing Service.
Muriel wrote letters (from Jack) to a boy in her neighborhood who came to play with him; she had residents of a group home come with their aides to walk Jack, always teaching them the correct method of handling him. She was truly a life-long learner and educator. Her brother David summed up her career when he said, “Teachers like Muriel are born, not taught.”
Muriel wrote a lot of poetry, and in last 10 years she organized her material into a play which she illustrated with her beautiful artwork. Covid put an end to her attempt to have The Never Seen Girl produced on stage.
Muriel’s love of dogs began with two great Pyrenees, Polar Anna and Maggie. They were followed by an assortment of large dogs, and lastly Jack. She will meet all of them at the Rainbow Bridge!
Muriel opened doors for family, friends, and students; she was always available to read a résumé, edit a term paper, or discuss any type of communication issue. She was a loving, caring, and wonderful example to her siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Muriel worked so hard for so many years—rest in peace, my dearest friend!
Muriel was preceded in death by her parents, Irwin (1/18/1993) and Mary Rada (1/19/1993), brother David Rada, M.D. (12/06/2008), sister Ruth (7/30/2011), brother-in-law Russell Lenz (6/10/2021), and former sister-in-law Stephanie Rada (12/14/2021). She is survived by brother Mark Rada of Salida, CO, sister-in-law Chris Rada (David) of Lake Quivira, KS, Judy Lenz of Elkhorn, NE, Susan Wilson (Donald) of Omaha, NE.
Nieces and nephews include Sarah Lenz Cooper (Jeff), Kathryn Lenz Daeges (Matt), Matt Rada, Megan R. Holm (Russell), Rebecca Rada, D.O., Nicholas Rada, Natalie R. Goodrich (Josh), Vincent Rada, Dr. Madeleine Wilson (Eric Hoefeber Ph.D.), Cooper & Davis Wilson, Olivia Strong (Connor), Haley Wilson, 7 great-nieces and nephews and special life-long friends Carolyn and Ed Conrath of Bellevue, NE, and daughters Andrea and Christie. She will be fondly remembered by countless friends, colleagues, and students.
Friends are welcome to celebrate Muriel’s life with a Valentines Tea reception Saturday, February 12th at West Center Chapel from 1:30pm to 2:30pm.Memorials are suggested to Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province, St. Mary University, UMKC English Department, UNL English Department, Metro Community College.