PORTAGE PARK — A longtime teacher and counselor who died in November 2014 left St. Patrick High School $500,000 in his will, officials at the Catholic all-boys school in Portage Park announced.
James "Jim" Barrett taught at St. Patrick from 1961-67 and returned as the school's first college counselor in 1994. He retired in 2009, but volunteered once a week at the school afterward, school officials said.
"[Barrett] loved St. Patrick High School because he loved the young men that attend our school," school President Joe Schmidt said. "He [was] one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He was polite and respectful to all. Jim Barrett was always nice, to all people, all the time."
Emmett McGovern, who replaced Barrett when he retired, said his predecessor helped him serve the students at St. Patrick High School, 5900 W. Belmont Ave., to the best of his ability.
"Every time he came in I would have a list of questions to throw at him," McGovern said. "It didn't matter how much time it took, he mentored me through every aspect of the counseling role. [Barrett] had all the answers. He always knew what to say and how to say it."
Barrett's death notice in the Tribune asked friends and family mourning his death to contribute to the school's financial aid program rather than send flowers.
The money will be used to ensure that "St. Patrick High School will continue to transform boys into young men for generations to come," school officials said.
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