Brother John Joseph Waitkus, a.k.a. Brother Aquinas, 87, a religious Brother of the Sacred Heart, died on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at Landmark Hospital in Woonsocket, RI. The only son with five sisters, Brother John was born on January 14, 1934 to John D. Waitkus and Mary Brandano in Malden, MA.
Brother John entered the Institute of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart on July 25, 1950 in Sharon, MA, and continued his religious formation in Pomfret, CT, in 1951. He professed his first vows on August 24, 1953, at Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, RI, and his final vows on July 19, 1959, at Cor Jesu Terrace in Harrisville, RI. Earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education from the University of East Georgia in 1980, Brother John taught and helped young people grow physically, morally and spiritually in NE schools of the Brothers for 38 years.
Brother John began his teaching career in 1953 at Sacred Heart School in Sharon, MA, and continued his work in the P.E. classroom in several Catholic schools in the NE area, including Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, RI; Mount St. John School in Deep River, CT; Sacred Heart School in Andover, MA; Christ the King/Mater Christi in Burlington, VT; and Oak Hill School in Williston, VT. After retiring from the classroom in 1991, he became a member of the buildings and grounds staff at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, NH, and Brother John eventually retired to the Brothers’ Retirement Center in Harrisville, RI, for the last 25 years of his life. Brother John will be remembered by his confreres, friends and students as a man who loved teaching, especially physical education, and all sports, in general. He was a dedicated bike rider, a beloved coach, and an avid sports fan.
Brother John was preceded in death by his parents and four of his sisters: Elaine Fossa, Barbara Hayward, Muriel Bogan and Theresa Nye. He is survived by his sister, Jean Hardy, of Adkinson, NH, several nieces and nephews, and many close friends, especially the DeFabio family of Malden, MA.
Brother John donated his body to the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Therefore, a memorial Mass and a celebration of Brother John’s life will be celebrated at a later date when COVID restrictions are eased.
Memorial donations can be made to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart Foundation, 4600 Elysian Fields Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70122.
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Brothers of the Sacred Heart Foundation
4600 Elysian Fields Avenue, New Orleans LA 70122