Jesuit Brother William Dardis: A Jesuit legend

Jesuit Brother William J. Dardis, a legendary figure at Jesuit High School, died July 10 in the school residence where he had lived for 55 years. He was 79 years old, a Jesuit for almost 61 years and in final vows for 45 years.

Brother Dardis’ Funeral Mass was celebrated July 17 at the Chapel of the North American Martyrs at Jesuit High School. Burial followed at the Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.

Born in New Orleans on May 11, 1940, he was the son of William J. Dardis, D.D.S., and Mary Katherine Schwab Dardis. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one brother, Francis X. Joseph Dardis. He is survived by his brothers John and Joseph Dardis; his sister, Mary Katherine Dardis Nunemacher; and many nieces and nephews.

Billy Dardis attended St. Rita and St. Cecilia grammar schools and Jesuit High, graduating in 1958. He entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on Aug. 14, 1958, at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau.

After pronouncing first vows, he continued in Grand Coteau for one year as a Junior Brother, followed by one year of technical studies at the Milford Juniorate in Milford, Ohio.

In 1963, Brother Dardis was assigned to his alma mater, Jesuit High School. He would remain in ministry there essentially for the rest of his life, over 55 years in all. His first assignment was as a plant engineer. Following a yearlong sabbatical in 1982-83, he returned to Jesuit as alumni director. After 20 years, he stepped down as director of the Alumni Office, but continued with alumni affairs, special projects, anything the school president needed him for, and, indeed, almost anything that needed to be done.

Decades of students and alumni knew him in a wide variety of capacities: maintenance, school bus driver, cheerleader moderator, event coordinator, Blue Jay Bazaar booth builder and constant presence.

Brother Dardis earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and management at Loyola University New Orleans. He pronounced final vows in the Society of Jesus on Aug. 15, 1973.

Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or online at http://jesuitscentralsouthern.org.

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