Remembering Brother Stan

Brother Stanislaus Sobczyk, FSCA full chapel of family, friends, and colleagues attended the Mont La Salle, Napa, funeral mass for Brother Stanislaus Sobczyk, FSC, on Saturday, August 3. It was one of two funeral liturgies for the beloved leader and educator who served in both the Midwest and San Francisco New Orleans Districts. 

Born in 1944 in Omaha, Neb., as John Michael Sobczyk, Brother Stan became a Christian Brother in 1963, serving for more than 55 years by the time of his death on July 22, 2019. He was known for his leadership skills throughout much of his 74 years of life, including his time as president of the School of Applied Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and as vice president for Development at Saint Mary’s College.

“Brother Stan had an incredible ability to read the dynamics of people, groups, issues, contexts, and history, and was the person that I would always go to, to get insights and understandings…” said SMC President Jim Donahue. “He was always candid and would tell you what he saw going on…and would offer creative solutions to whatever were the problems at hand.”

In the first of two eulogies, Brother Bernie LoCoco noted that one of Brother Stan’s most endearing qualities was the importance he gave to relationships, including surprising his sister by arranging trips for her to come visit him. Brother Stan left two more legacies, said Brother Bernie. He was willing to serve where needed, and in later life, he embraced his illness. “As a youth, Stan had some serious health issues, spending time in the hospital and months in an iron lung,” shared Brother Bernie. “Could this early illness and isolation affect who he would become and where he would go in life? I believe the answer is yes.”

From his earliest assignment as an Illinois high school teacher in 1966 to twice serving as president of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Brother Stan rose to the challenges presented to him. After serving three times at Saint Mary’s in teaching and administrative roles, he returned a fourth time to live in retirement in the Joseph Alemany Community. It was here that Brother Stan honed his skills as a host and San Francisco tour guide. “He took the greatest pleasure in driving us to see things we knew and showing us sights we never knew were there,” said Brother Michael Meister, who recalled some of Brother Stan’s favorite offbeat places, including the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor in the Outer Mission. “They had a reserved table for the Brother Stan Tour,” he said.

In his eulogy, Brother Michael noted that Brother Stan was also a good cook, imaginative storyteller, enthusiastic shopper (often with coupons), and a “regular” Brother—“which meant he attended all the prayers and the liturgy and the rosary in the Chapel…on time.”

Brother Michael ended by saying that everyone at the funeral had a diploma, not from the university, but the Universe...of Stan. “He was a grand person to know and live with, and his generous heart was as grand as his universe. May he continue to make us laugh—at him, but more at ourselves!”

The Rite of Committal will take place on August 10 at St. John’s Cemetery in Bellevue, Neb.