Brother James Rieck, FSC - Christian Brother and Faculty Member at La Salle College High School
- Deceased's name: Brother James Rieck, FSC
- Age: 73
- Date: November 17, 2012
- Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
- Survived by: His sister, Anne O’Connor (Joseph, Jr.); nephew, Joseph, III (Christina); niece, Courtney; grandnephew, Ryan; and a grandniece, Kathleen.
Brother James Rieck, FSC, 73, died peacefully on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Abington Hospice in Warminster, PA, surrounded by his family.
He was born James Francis Rieck in Philadelphia, PA on June 6, 1939. He attended Saint Helena School in the Olney section of Philadelphia and went on to graduate from La Salle College High School as member of the Class of 1957. He entered the Ammendale Novitiate for the Brothers of the Christian Schools in June of 1957, received the Religious Habit and Name Brother James Leo in September of 1957, and pronounced perpetual vows in 1964. He graduated from La Salle College in 1962 and received Masters Degrees from both La Salle College and Villanova University.
Brother James spent the early part of his 50-year career at Bishop Dennis J. O’Connell High School in Arlington, VA, where he taught social studies and religion as well as coached tennis and served as Athletic Director. In 1971, he went to Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor, PA where he served as a teacher, Dean of Students, and Vice Principal. In 1984, he returned to his Alma Mater and spent the next five years as Assistant Principal. He went on to serve as Principal of Archbishop Carroll from 1990 to 1993.
In 1993, he returned to La Salle College High School, where he spent eighteen wonderful years as Director of Admissions. During this time, applications and enrollment were at an all-time high, and the admissions process was brought to a new level. He stepped down in June of 2011 and turned the reigns over to one of his former students.
Brother James Rieck, FSC continued to serve as Director of the Christian Brothers Community at La Salle College High School. In addition, he served as moderator of the Men of La Salle and assumed the role of Lasallian Animator, which in the Lasallian context, refers to someone within the local educational community who carries out the special responsibility of making known the essential elements of the Lasallian tradition.
Brother James Butler, President of La Salle College High School, remembers his confrere. “Brother James Rieck was an excellent, influential, and ideal Christian Brother. The vocation was completely natural to him. His energy, intelligence, resourcefulness, and practicality made him an effective and successful teacher as a young man. As an administrator, he held high standards but was generous and understanding when people were in need. As his quarter century at La Salle went by, he became progressively more adept at transforming lives by a ministry of presence. He was always there: when there was reason to celebrate, when pain was experienced, when hope was required. As you would expect with a good photographer, the focus was never on Jim. In some ways, he was almost transparent. When the La Salle family looked at him, they saw the love of God.”
Brother James is perhaps best known for capturing a different side of La Salle’s student body as he could be found taking photographs at almost every school event. There is not an event or team over the years that Brother James did not chronicle with his cameras and his photos can be found throughout the campus and in almost every school publication.
Brother James’ distinct connection to La Salle College High School and its students is perhaps most evident by his participation in Kairos – a special retreat program for seniors. For more than ten years, Brother James shared his own life experiences and helped retreatants take advantage of this unique opportunity. In all, Brother James served as an adult leader on over thirty-five Kairos retreats.
Brother James was an avid cyclist, having participated in a number of local events including Pedal for Prevention, which benefits Fox Chase Cancer Center. He traveled extensively around the globe and, in March of 2012, was inducted into the La Salle College High School Hall of Fame.
Principal Michael O’Toole, a thirty-two year member of the faculty and administration at La Salle, remembered his colleague. “Brother James adapted to life in remarkable and graceful ways. In particular, his continuing low key and pervasive kindness have been very influential.”
Brother James Rieck is predeceased by his parents: Joseph F. Rieck and Margaret Rieck (nee Courtney). He is survived by his sister, Anne O’Connor (Joseph, Jr.); nephew, Joseph, III (Christina); niece, Courtney; grandnephew, Ryan; and a grandniece, Kathleen.
A viewing will take place on Friday, November 23, 2012 from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm in the Auditorium at La Salle College High School. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 7:00 pm and will take place in the school gymnasium. Interment will take place on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm at the Christian Brothers’ Cemetery at La Salle Hall in Ammendale, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to the Brother James Rieck, FSC ’57 Fund for Service and Spirituality, c/o La Salle College High School, 8605 Cheltenham Avenue, Wyndmoor, PA, 19038.