MANITOWOC — Br. Cyril Litecky, 88, founding principal of Roncalli High School, died on April 4 at Bethlehem in the Holy Land. A De La Salle Christian Brother for 65 years, he served as the leader of Roncalli from 1965 to 1973. Since 1984, Br. Litecky had served in several administrative capacities at Bethlehem University on the West Bank.
Jim Kersten, who served as a teacher, coach and athletic director at Roncalli from 1965 to 2000, remembers Br. Litecky fondly.
“His passion for serving students, parents, and teachers was built around the Christian Brothers doctrine of educating and respecting all people,” said Kersten. “He made my family not only feel welcome in 1965 when I was hired, but also appreciated in such a way that we remain a part of Roncalli to this day.”
Ron Klestinski, longtime teacher, dean of students and coach, remembers Br. Litecky “as a man of great faith and as a tremendous Christian leader.” Klestinski added, “I feel very blessed to be part of those early years working with a great staff and community under his leadership.”
In the school office at Roncalli, a portrait of Br. Litecky is displayed on the wall. John Stelzer, current Roncalli president and 1981 graduate of Roncalli commented, “Each day when I enter school, I am reminded of the dedication of Br. Cyril. His leadership at our school was a blessing to our community as we opened a Catholic high school in 1965. His portrait is a reminder of the challenge to continue working with young people from all backgrounds, helping them to develop spiritually and academically. The legacy of Br. Cyril and those early staff members lives on through our many graduates and their families today.”
Br. Litecky was born Bernard Litecky on Oct. 26, 1926, in Minneapolis, Minn. A WWII veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he entered the novitiate of the Christian Brothers in Glencoe, Mo., in 1950 and professed final vows in 1955. Br. Litecky graduated from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn., and earned a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. He served as an educator in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
In addition to serving as principal at Roncalli, he also taught at the school. He was also a principal/teacher at Pacelli High School in Stevens Point. Br. Litecky served twice as principal at De La Salle High School in Minneapolis, 1975 to 1977 and from 1989 to 1991, following a stint as academic vice president at Bethlehem University. He returned to Bethlehem in 1991.
The funeral Mass for Br. Litecky was celebrated on April 6 in the Chapel of the Divine Child at Bethlehem University. De La Salle Br. Peter Iorlano delivered the eulogy. He praised Br. Litecky’s work ethic as an educator, as both assistant provincial and provincial of the Winona Province of Christian Brothers, and in his work at Bethlehem University.
“This seemingly ordinary man was serious about his work,” said Br. Iorlano. “Work was a place to get things done that needed to be done; and if you were working with him, Br. Cyril had a way of letting you know that your way was not necessarily his way. However, as importantly, if not more importantly, work was a place to establish fraternal relationships with others: that is, to extend his ‘brotherhood beyond the brothers’ community. His care and respect for others and his sense of humor helped to endear him to others.”
Br. Litecky is survived by a brother, Frank Litecky of Minneapolis, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
A memorial Mass for Br. Litecky was celebrated April 15 in the Zimmer Auditorium at Roncalli High School. A memorial fund to support financial aid has been established by friends of Br. Cyril at Roncalli.