chapelQuigley Class of '61 Renunion

Biography 17

I graduated from   St. Gabriel grade school in 1956 just like the most of us did and immediately entered Quigley Preparatory Seminary. (Remember those QPS blue and gold sweaters?) I didn’t know then that a girl who graduated with me would some day become my wife! I remember Mary Ann Loftus as a skinny girl who talked a lot in class, who unlike myself had only correct answers to offer “Str.”

I didn’t exude any star quality while at Quigley but I made a lot of good friends, such as Joe Voss and John DeSalvo, may he rest in peace. However, I loved languages and did well in French, Greek and I always earned an A in Latin. Although one doesn’t need to study Latin anymore, but it did come in handy when I taught vocabulary to high school students, and on Jeopardy! when a category is named “From the Latin.”

I moved on to our one year at Niles and enjoyed it very much. Sometimes our recreation periods became a little rowdy, cf. Len Dubi and Jim Costello. Did Jim really set that mattress on fire and throw it out of the second story window? That’s what I remember.

Moving on to Mundelein, there’s not much to say. At the end of a week long silent retreat, in which time I took up the habit of smoking, I bolted out, after leaving four cans of Pepsi-Cola in Tony Petronis’ room. I wanted to leave him a going away present.

 The following year I secured a job at an insurance company (exciting huh?) and after that year I decided to give the priesthood another try. However, the archdiocese informed me that I would not be allowed to return. (I wonder if that would happen today.) Moreover, they advised me to sign on with the diocese of Joliet, apparently believing that the smaller diocese would accept a “reject” like me. And they did! Joliet sent me to the major seminary in Baltimore, Md. (I believe I flew down there with George Roman.) St. Mary’s University was much older than St. Mary of the Lake; the chapel boasted on a plaque that it was dedicated in 1808! But I loved it there with guys from the East and the South as well as Indiana and Michigan. But because the seminary was ancient, the inner city of Baltimore grew up around it. Since there was a house of ill repute right across Paca St., we were always told to be sure and wear our black and collar when we ventured out. However, they did volunteer us to help the diocese of Baltimore take a census of the number of Catholics living in our area. What an educational job that turned out to be!

But, after assuring myself once again that the celibate life of the priest was not for me, I came back to Chicago and married Mary Ann and we had four children, a boy and three girls. We also have two grandchildren, thanks to our son, the girls have not done their part yet!

This August Mary Ann and I will be celebrating our 44th anniversary. And 44 is also the number of years I have taught English at Marist H.S. Also, I taught at Moraine Valley Jr. College, the two Com coursed and Humanities courses part time for about 15 years. But now I am retired in Oak Forest Il. And I volunteer at our parish church, St. Damian. I am a lector, a minister of care, a funeral coordinator and I teach RCIA and give Communion to patients at Palos Hospital one day a week.