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Charles Wordsworth remembers brother william

It seems just like yesterday. I remember quite vividly when brother William Healey arrived at St. Patrick's High School in 1970. At the time, I was just an eighth grader. It was an exciting time for our school. My classmates, the entire student body and I were very excited about the arrival of Brother Romaine, CSC. We had heard a lot about Brother Romaine. Hence, we anxiously awaited his arrival.When Brother William arrived his official name was Brother Romaine. After a year, he decided to change his name to Brother William because of the ease of pronunciation. We found Brother William to be very kind and caring. His love of sports made us to naturally gravitate towards him. He also loved to read and wanted all his students to become avid readers. Consequently, he established the SRA Reading Lab for the junior high division. He was very passionate about the reading laboratory. For those of us who matriculated from St. Patrick's Elementary School found the reading lab to be very refreshing, since we had previously been introduced to the SRA methods during our formative years. The reading lab was indeed a blessing.


During his first year at St. Patrick's, Brother William played an indispensable role in rejuvenating the track and field team. That year the track and field team under the Captainship of E.C.B Jones participated in the Inter-High School Track and Field Meet held in Harbel, Firestone. I was a member of the team. Brother William put us through rigorous physical training in preparation for the Meet. We ran on the beach from the Monrovia City Hall to the Catholic Hospital and back. The track team put up spectacular performances and represented our school splendidly. Brother William was so dedicated that he picked us up from our homes in his famous Peugeot 404. He also provided the team with refreshments.

Later that year, he organized the junior varsity basketball team and got alumnus Kolli Tamba to be the head coach. I was the starting center of the team. We had a very impressive record. We defeated all our opponents except one, Ricks Institute, who we lost to by one point. My friend and brother Edmund Neblett can elaborate on our loss to Ricks Institute. Just ask him about his free throws. Brother William was also the team statistician; he kept impeccable records. He also played an integral part in the in the development of the Inter-High School Sports Association.

In 1972, while the Athletic Director, he continued the rich tradition of strengthening the basketball and the soccer teams. He hired one of Liberia's best and renowned soccer player, Mr. Borbor Gaye, to be our soccer coach. We had a very successful soccer team. I can speak to that because I was the goalkeeper of the team along with others, such as Anthony Gray, Aloysious Nimely and Andrew Williams.

Brother William upon his arrival at St. Patrick's always desired that we have our own athletic bus. He devised a scheme to generate funds needed to purchase the bus. He was an avid stamp collector. He got all his students to contribute Liberian Stamps towards this project. He was also instrumental in getting donations from his contacts in the United States to make the purchase of the bus a reality. In 1972, just in time for the basketball season, Brother William purchased a brand new Dahatsu Bus. We were overjoyed and gratified when the bus arrived. To show our appreciation to Brother William, the team won the 1972, Inter-High School National Basketball Championship. St. Patrick's had won championships in 1966 and 1967. It had been five years since our last championship. I remembered after defeating Tubman High School; it was so gratifying to see Brother William driving the bus with a full contingent of St. Patrick's, St. Theresa Convent students, alumni and fans parading behind the bus singing "We are number one" and "When the Saints go marching in,"all the way from the YMCA on Crown Hill to our school on Capitol  Hill. The expression on Brother William's face was priceless.

Brother William, we are eternally indebted to you and all the Brothers of Holy  Cross for the invaluable contributions that you made to us, the people of Liberia in particular and Africa in general. Our promise is to continue to help others as you have greatly assisted us. May your soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest In perfect and perpetual peace.

Brother William Healy: Athletic Director and Teacher at SPHS 1969 to 1982

William was born in Detroit and entered the Brothers in Watertown in 1939. After his novitiate year he worked as a cook, first at Sacred Heart Juniorate, then at the Generalate in Washington, D.C. and at St. Joseph's Center in Valatie. His business skills came into play when he was assigned to the publication staff at Ave Maria Press to serve as a canvasser for 2 years. In 1950, he joined the faculty of Boysville and served in a variety of roles for 19 years. He is probably best remembered at the school for his efforts in  

developing athletic programs. As Athletic Director, his football, basketball, baseball and track teams won 13 championships. In 1969, William was able to fulfill one of his dreams of going to the missions. He was sent to Liberia to join the faculty of St. Patrick's High School, where he developed courses and taught a new business curriculum. He also served as the Athletic Director at St. Patrick’s High School in Monrovia, Liberia, from 1969 to 1982. After serving at the school for 13 years, he returned to the States to teach at Hoban High School in Akron. He then administered to the needy in Appalachia by assisting Br. Gonzaga Day at the Seton Thrift Store in Harriman, TN. William's lively spirit, cheerful personality and business talents were memorable not only among many friends at Boysville but also in Liberia and Tennessee. (Credit: Brothers of Holy Cross)

A NOTE of remembrance

Many of us remember Brother William not only as a teacher, but as our affable Athletic Director who served as the varsity and junior varsity basketball teams' manager, team bus driver and motivator. Warm and engaging, he always made sure we were ready for competition. Team uniforms would be clean, ironed and perfectly laid out in the room where we got ready for games.  For him, representing the vaunted Saints began with how well we presented ourselves. And he made sure of that. Win or lose, he shared in the  highs of hard-fought victories, and lows that came with bitter losses. Ever the motivator, he was never discouraged or demoralized. We remember many pep talks. He would chide us to focus and think about the game ahead, especially when all we wanted to do was "steam up". While we were calling on "Adoena" to deliver us victory, Brother William would shake his head with a smirk on his face, never understanding why we thought we needed anything other than our God-given talent to win games. But he went along anyway. The bus would be hot, steamy, windows misty, rocking from side to side as we "steamed up", and there would be Brother William. Driving. Brother William was not just the "engine" that drove our athletic program, but his presence was a symbol of stability, class and excellence.


We wish we had one last "steam up" session for you, summoning the spirit of "Adoena," just to see that familiar smirk on your face. We know you would love that.


We miss you Brother William. Rest in Peace.

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