Jesuit Brother William J. Dardis died on July 10, 2019, in the Residence at Jesuit High School, 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.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 11, 1940, he attended St. Rita and St. Cecelia grammar schools and in 1953 began high school at Jesuit High. After graduation he entered the Society on Aug. 14, 1958, at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, where his uncle, Fr. Joseph Dardis, taught both the novices and the juniors. Br. Dardis entered as a scholastic novice, but within the first year changed grades to become a brother novice. After First Vows he was a Junior Brother one year at Grand Coteau and one year at the Milford Juniorate in Ohio studying in a technical school.
In 1963, Br. Dardis was assigned to his alma mater, where he worked at first as a plant engineer. During these years he earned a B.S. in finance and management at Loyola University across town. He also did tertianship in the spring of 1972 and took his final vows on Aug. 15, 1973. He spent the school year 1982-83 at Marquette University on sabbatical, no doubt at the urging of the then-provincial, who was known for separating men from assignments they had been at a long time. But in 1983 Br. Dardis returned to “Jesuits” on Banks Street, now as alumni director and minister. After 20 years he gave up the directorship of the alumni office, but continued with alumni affairs, special projects, anything the Fr. President needed him for, and indeed almost anything that needed to be done—even moderating the cheerleaders!
It can truly be said that “Brotha” was/is a legend at Jesuit High among the over 60 years of alumni who knew him as a fellow student or someone who sold them a textbook, or drove their team to a practice or a game, or who was helping at the Blue Jay Bazaar, and so on ad infinitum. He was also a legend to generations of regents who had to screw up the courage to ask Brother Minister for a few extra dollars or to report something missing or damaged. On such occasions, Br. Dardis was known to speak of himself in the third person to the hapless regent, “If the young man had asked Brother about it, Brother would have told the young man…” He will be greatly missed.
Br. Dardis was preceded in death by his father, William J. Dardis, D.D.S., his mother, Mary Katherine Schwab Dardis, and his brother, Francis X. Joseph Dardis. He is survived by his brothers John and Joseph, his sister Mary Katherine Dardis Nunemacher, and many nieces and nephews.