When Jimmy Blackmore ’95 thinks about Marist, he thinks about the people. “The people of Marist (teammates, fellow students, coaches, teachers, administrators) are a very special group,” he said. “The bonds I made with the guys on the football and basketball teams have truly lasted a lifetime. So many people in the Marist community have touched my life in so many positive ways by encouraging the development of faith, academics, and sports.”
Blackmore had an impact on others’ lives, too. He was a natural leader on and off the field. He played football for 15 years but remembers the 1993 Marist season as his favorite because of the humble, quality young men on the team who he still calls his friends. During his time at Marist, he was voted football team captain three times. He amassed 16 career touchdowns, 2,203 all-purpose yards, and 14 career tackles. He was all-conference and all-area in 1993 and 1994. He credits a long list of Marist coaches with “building my foundation of hard work, toughness, and how to thoughtfully deal with the perils of success and failure.” He was a presence on the basketball court for Marist, too.
He went on play football at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) and earned his bachelor degree. He continued to succeed on the field, 37 of 43 career games at free safety. He amassed 235 career tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, five fumble recoveries, ten pass deflections, and nine interceptions. He earned honors and accolades from coaches and teammates alike.
In college, Blackmore also met his wife, Gina, and today they live in Downers Grove with their kids Sofie and Bowen. He runs his family construction business and still loves to hear about a big Marist football win.
HALL OF FAME: 2012 SOFTBALL
Women making history…that’s what the members of the 2012 Marist softball team were a part of that season. They brought home the first IHSA state title for a girls’ team at Marist.
Having gone coed in 2002, Marist sponsored its first softball season in the spring of 2003. In a less than decade, Coach Denise Fasano Bromberek, a Marist Hall of Fame member herself, built an incredible program garnering more and more success each season.
The 2012 season was not a straight shot to the finals though. The team had faced 15 losses, and after a tough one against Lockport on May 10, the girls gathered in the school chapel and set goals for the rest of the season. They did not lose another game. They went on a 12-game winning streak led by the seniors.
Marist was the No. 6 seed in the sectional, and despite late-season success, no expected them to go all the way. But one game at a time they made their way. They defeated T.F. South and Lincoln-Way East to win the regional. They picked up wins against Sandburg and McAuley in the sectional and beat Trinity in the super-sectional. At state, they won over Elk Grove in the semifinal and finished with a big 5-0 win over Bartlett High School in the championship game.
Members of the team credit their chemistry on and off the field and their willingness to work through the obstacles together. They finished with a 27-15 record. Six players earned combinations of all-conference, all-area, and all-state honors. Seven of the team members went on to play for college programs and five players are in the Marist record books for season and career stats.
“That team was an exceptionally bright and hardworking group, who pushed each other to be the best versions of themselves,” Bromberek said. “These girls genuinely loved each other and the game of softball. They were so humble and kind, and they did not know how talented they truly were.”
The team members’ work ethic on the field has translated into the real world, as they now serve the community as teachers, police officers, nurses, and other worthy professions.
TIME & ETERNITY: JIM BAILEY ’85
Jim Bailey ’85 credits the teachers and coaches of Marist High School with making him an effective field training officer with the Chicago Police Department. Specifically, he points to Mr. Santoni, Mr. Pavliga, Mrs. Kennedy, and Coach O’Connor for inspiring and encouraging him to excel in high school and beyond.
“Coach O’Connor continues to exhibit that positive inspiration today as one of my supervisors on the police force,” Jim explained. “There’s something about the friendships you build at Marist and even the connections you make when meeting an alum for the first time…it’s remarkable.”
Jim’s Marist experience instilled in him a belief that you can succeed in life while being humble and kind. “Catholic education is important to me because it teaches forgiveness and to not judge a person,” Jim explained. “These beliefs continue to be a part of my personal and professional life.”
A hockey player all four years at Marist, Jim still competes in charitable games with the Chicago Police Hockey Team – raising money for Honor Flight Chicago, an organization that recognizes veterans with a trip to Washington D.C. He also participates in the Chicago Blackhawks Get Out and Learn Program, which introduces the sport at the grassroots level to kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to try hockey.
When he’s not competing in triathlons or other races, Jim enjoys spending time with his wife Jamie and their son Kevin.
“It is humbling to be in the company of those who received this prestigious award before me,” Jim said. “I accept it on behalf of all Marist faculty, students and alumni who dedicate their time and effort to their school and their communities each and every day.”
TIME & ETERNITY: JIM CAREY ’70
Jim Carey ’70 never once regretted his decision to attend Marist High School – even as his friends questioned his interest in this relatively new school. According to Jim, the education at Marist offered more than academics.
“We were encouraged to not only hit the books but also to get involved in extracurricular activities; don’t just go home at 2:30 p.m.” This advice led Jim to participate in basketball, track, cross country, and intramurals. He also was a homeroom representative and a member of the National Honor Society.
Jim remembers praying the rosary before lunch, collecting money for the poor, and volunteering at local parishes – actions that reinforced the Catholic principles taught in the Carey home.
The solid foundation of a Marist education led to an easy transition through college, graduate school, and the workforce. Jim taught human anatomy and physiology at the college level for 30 years before entering the business world as chief financial officer for a construction chemical supply company.
Jim and his wife Laura have lived in St. John Fisher Parish for 40 years – raising two sons, Sean and Kevin. Besides golfing and jogging, Jim is involved in a number of charitable organizations, such as Misericordia, and participates in alumni initiatives at St. Margaret of Scotland Grammar School, Marist High School, and Loyola University.
“I was quite surprised when I received the news about being named a Time and Eternity Award recipient for 2020,” Jim said. “There are so many outstanding individuals from the class of 1970 who are deserving of this award. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen. Marist was a major contributor to the person I am today and continues to influence the values that I live by.”
TIME & ETERNITY: FRANCIS PODBIELSKI ’80
It’s not uncommon for Dr. Francis Podbielski ’80 to spout verses from Shakespeare or a poem by Poe in the operating room. Mr. Malito’s love of the English language and its literature is still palpable to Francis 40 years after graduation. While the annual eighth grade math contest is what drew Francis to Marist, his most enjoyable time was spent in honors English.
“Mr. Malito’s organizational skills and attention to detail vastly enriched my vocabulary and enabled me to tackle the challenges of writing throughout life,” Francis said. “I also enjoyed Mr. Santoni’s calculus classes in which we spent more time discussing world politics than actually doing calculus or so it seemed.”
But Mr. Santoni must have known what he was doing because Francis did extremely well on his AP test and placed into advanced calculus in college – setting the stage for an academic career that would lead Francis to become a celebrated thoracic surgeon.
“My Marist education imbued in me a strong sense of self-discipline and a focus on the duty of social responsibility to my fellow human beings,” Francis said. “Although rigorous, surgical residency and cardiothoracic surgery fellowship really were not difficult given my Marist training.”
Throughout his career, Francis has been involved in academic surgery as well as professional organizations and yet still finds time to participate in surgical missions to Bolivia, World Scout Jamborees, the Knights of Columbus, and, with his wife Anna Montes, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
“While a pinnacle of achievement, the Time and Eternity Award serves as an omnipresent reminder of the unfinished work that remains and my personal role in making it happen, thus giving us all an unshakable faith in the future,” Francis said.