Brother Rice opened its doors in the fall of 1960 with two hundred students and six Christian Brothers. Just three months later, Billie was hired as the Old Monastery Hall housekeeper and cook. For the next 57 years, Billie has been preparing meals and caring for our Christian Brothers. Over the years, that meant providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the extensive list of Brothers who have lived in OMH, Carroll Hall, and Parkstone. Throughout all of the moves, Billie has been a constant presence in supporting them through her ongoing dedicated service.
In recent years, Billie continues to serve dinner four days a week. Her fried chicken and legendary cookies top the list of the Brothers’ favorites. She makes a batch of chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies every week, and by calculation, that could be 2,964 batches of cookies for the Brothers over the course of her career!
Billie considers the Brothers a second family and they consider her the same.
Through her culinary ministry, Billie epitomizes the Brother Rice Spirit by showing extraordinary dedication, love, concern, service, and enthusiasm for the Christian Brothers community.
Jim was born in Grand Rapids as one of seven children in a loving Catholic family. Jim went to Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School and later transferred to Lansing Everett High School. He went on to attend University Detroit Mercy, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematical Economics and earned an MBA in Finance from Wayne State University.
Jim began his teaching ministry in 1969 at Detroit Servite High School, where he met his wife, Nancy. Jim taught Business and Math classes for 47 years, including 45 at Brother Rice. It is likely that he taught or coached more than half of the school’s Alumni while mentoring and earning the respect of many colleagues, parents, and students along the way.
Known by the Brother Rice community as “Rads,” Jim was the golf coach for 24 years, winning seven state championships. He is a 1994 inductee of the Catholic League Hall of Fame, a 1999 inductee of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame, and a 2010 inductee of the Brother Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. He served as the President of the MIGCA and was Chairman and co-founder of the Junior Tour, organizing a series of national golf tournaments for high school golfers, including events at TPC Sawgrass, Doral, Kiawah Island and Duke University.
Jim and Nancy have been married for 45 years, and their two sons are graduates of Brother Rice; Michael in 2000 and John in 2004. In an interview reflecting on his early years at Brother Rice, Jim fondly remembers the people, stating, “The students kept me young and energized, the faculty kept me hopeful and smiling, the administration was respectful and supportive, and the parents were encouraging and grateful.” Jim is a treasured member of our community showing dedication to the Edmund Rice Catholic ministry of teaching, coaching and serving students of Brother Rice.
In 1960, Mr. Robert Stark entered Brother Rice High School as a member of the first Freshman Class. During his time as a student, he was a talented cross country and track runner. After graduating in 1964, he went on to attend the University of Notre Dame where he had an outstanding college career. Bob earned a degree in Mathematics and returned to Brother Rice to begin his ministry as a teacher and coach. For 42 years, Bob taught in the Mathematics department and helped thousands of graduates excel at Math and more importantly, in life. Bob became the head Cross Country coach in 1969 and later became the head Track & Field coach. As a coach, Bob enjoyed many successes including Catholic League, Regional, and District championships, in addition to coaching many talented individual State Champions. He continues to aid in this ministry today.
Those who know Bob, know that the sport is secondary to the care for and development of the kids. When he looks back upon his years as a teacher and coach, he is most proud of the outstanding character and achievements of the students, both in their personal and professional lives. Humble to the core and shy of personal accolades, it is undeniable that Bob has been a powerful influence in the lives of his students. A colleague described him as a critical part of the very fabric of Brother Rice.
As one of the longest-serving individuals at Brother Rice, Bob is a shining example of commitment to others and the mission of Blessed Edmund Rice.