Hoisington Parish wishes DRE
Pam Willis a fond farewell
Parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Hoisington joined April 25 to wish one of their own a fond farewell, and to say thank-you for 20 years of heart-felt service.
Pam Willis, who has served the parish as Director of Religious Education for two decades, retired from her position as of May 31. At a celebration following the last night of their recent parish mission, Father Anselm Eke, MSP, pastor, presented her with a plaque noting her years of service.
Twenty years ago, when Pam first met with then-pastor Father Jack Maes about the job, she brought with her a list of all those people whom she thought might be qualified for the position.
“I didn’t realize until later that he was interviewing me!” she said, laughing.
“I’ve just loved attending all the diocesan events,” she said, “taking kids to the NCYC [National Catholic Youth Conference, of which she has attended all 10 since she was hired], rallies, summer camp, getting them together with other youth of the diocese, having them take part in activities together. Those are my favorite memories.”
Leaving a beloved position is always bittersweet. Each Wednesday night, Pam enjoyed what for her was a night out with friends.
“All the kids were there for CYO and CCD sessions. My friends are all there.
“That’s the saddest thing. All my friends will be there and not me.”
In retirement, kids will still be a part of her life, but in this case, it’s her grandchildren and her four adult children, spread out over Kansas and in Durango, Colorado.
“I have no plans in retirement except we want to travel and spend time with the kids.”
Pam’s husband, Greg, works for the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
At press time, as she edged toward her last day, she was in the midst of Vacation Bible School.
“I’m finishing off with a blast!” she said, smiling.
-- Dave Myers