Mater Dei is proud to announce that the late James Kirby, M.D., will be inducted into the Mater Dei Hall of Honor on May 5, 2017, with fellow inductees Phyllis (Fox) Berndsen, Jeff Ripperda, M.D., and Rita (Schomaker) Winkeler.
James, who provided loyal service to Mater Dei, earned his doctoral degree in medicine from Loyola University in 1939. After establishing his first medical practice in Skokie, Illinois, James then moved to New Haven, Illinois. While in New Haven, James served as a founding member of the Egyptian Tri-County Health Department, the mayor, the P.T.A. president, and a school board member. In 1965, James moved to Breese, where he continued to practice medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital until his retirement in 1984.
In keeping with our calling to serve as advocates for Catholic education, James and his supportive wife Nellie opened their home to five students residing in southern Illinois for whom distance would have otherwise prevented them from attending Mater Dei. An avid fan of both basketball and football, he also served as a “team doctor,” offering his medical expertise for the benefit of Mater Dei’s athletes. Finally, James both promoted and supported various Mater Dei fundraisers.
As a resident of Breese, James was an active member of St. Dominic Catholic Church, serving as a eucharistic minister, lector, usher, and Parish School of Religion (P.S.R.) teacher. Additionally, he volunteered as a crossing guard for St. Dominic Catholic School (now All Saints Academy) and as the secretary of the Clinton County Medical Society for twenty years.
James, who passed away April 29, 2005, was blessed with three children, Sheila, Tom and Gary ’81, nine grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.
Established in 1997, the Hall of Honor recognizes alumni and friends of Mater Dei who have lived their lives as witnesses of her mission. The celebration will begin at 6:30 pm with Mass in the Mater Dei Chapel, followed by dinner and the induction ceremony. Proceeds benefit the Mater Dei Grant-in-Aid program. For reservations ($20 per person), please contact the office (618-526-7216).