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Pacelli announces inductees to Hall of Honor

By Kane Malo

Pacelli Principal

By Kane Malo

Pacelli Principal

Pacelli honors alumni and friends of Pacelli

Congratulations to the newest inductees to Pacelli’s Hall of Honor.  This year the Hall of Honor was held virtually the inductees gave their speeches and a video was put together.  The video can be found on Pacelli Catholic School’s Website (PacelliSchools.org).

David Hardwick

David Hardwick 1956

David Hardwick ’56 became part of the Pacelli community as a freshman when his family moved to Austin to open a Ben Franklin Store. David describes himself as having less than distinguished credentials and with no plans to further his education beyond high school. With the encouragement and help of Pacelli Principal Father James Habiger, he was given a scholarship to St. John’s University. His college experience provided him with an incentive to succeed and a sense of purpose in a nurturing environment.

David’s passion for physics and technology has led him to build and invest in tech start-up companies including three in Denmark. These enterprises work on a diverse array of enterprises ranging from determining the number and type of insects in agricultural environments to eliminating the effects of patient movements while in MRI machines.

David lives in Maine with his wife, Kathy. They have two grown children, Ian who is a social worker in Oregon and Jessica who lives in Scotland pursuing tech opportunities in the tradition of her father. David’s siblings Pat, Paul, and Mary were also graduates of Pacelli.

David’s advice to Pacelli students is “whether you choose to be a farmer or work in foreign service, a physicist or a plumber, a doctor or a dancer—pick something you love to do as a career path…pick carefully, and love your work.”

Leroy and Joy
(posthumously) Koll

Leroy and Joy (posthumously) Koll

Both Leroy and Joy grew up on farms near Morgan, MN. Leroy was one of eleven children and attended eight grades of Catholic School at St. Michael’s, and high school in Morgan. Joy, one of four children, attended country school for a few elementary years, then public school in Morgan. Leroy and Joy met on a blind date the summer of 1948. Leroy said, “We never dated anyone else… We were a fit!” During their high school years, Leroy was a 3-year starting varsity player for both football and basketball, and Joy enjoyed taking part in her high school’s music program, playing the clarinet, saxophone, and her favorite– the piano!

Leroy and Joy were married in 1952 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Leroy graduated in 1958 from Mankato State earning a Physical Education and Health degree with a minor in Biology.  Leroy and Joy were blessed with eight children: Cathy ‘71, Barb ‘74, Terry ‘75, Michael ‘78, Laura ‘79, Rachel ‘80, Cecilia ‘81, Gina ‘85.  All eight children graduated from Pacelli and earned college degrees.

Leroy was a life-long educator beginning his career at Loretto Catholic High School in Caledonia, MN before coming to teach at Pacelli in 1962. While at Pacelli, Leroy taught Science, Biology, Physical Education, and Health. In addition to being an inspiration to his students in the classroom, he coached basketball, football, baseball, and golf for a total of 33 years. Leroy began as Pacelli’s head boys basketball coach in 1967, and had much success for 18 years, which included six trips to state tournament competitions, all with impressive placings!  He was also Pacelli’s head baseball coach winning the 1967 state tournament and was the head golf coach for several years. From 1985 to his retirement in 1995, Leroy continued to coach basketball for the girls B-squad.

Leroy is proud of the success of his students both in and out of the classroom and feels confident that they are successful in their adult lives due to their experiences at Pacelli. Leroy expressed how he and Joy were blessed to have been a part of the Pacelli family for many years, and grateful for the education it provided for their children.  In 1971, the Koll Family welcomed Mike Baudoin into their home during his senior year.  He quickly became a special part of their family which continues to hold true 49 years later. Their story is unique and of incredible sacrifice. Faith truly brought them together.   

Joy was called to her heavenly home on June 25, 2007, shortly after celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary. Leroy describes his late wife, Joy, as “the rock of the family” and was a significant influence in raising their children. Joy always held a special place in her heart for the students at Pacelli Catholic Schools. In her honor, The Joy Koll Memorial Scholarship Program was started in 2007 to help and encourage students to continue their education at Pacelli.    

George and Linda Pulchinski

George and Linda Pulchinski

Linda grew up in Austin and graduated from Pacelli in 1969. She graduated from the College of St. Teresa in Winona with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught at Pacelli in a variety of areas for 40 years. She met George while attending Pacelli football and basketball games. The couple married in 1980 and have two children, Adam and Bethany, who both attended Pacelli.

George graduated from Winona Cotter High School and accomplished undergraduate studies at St. Mary’s College in Winona and graduate studies at St. Mary’s and Winona State. He taught Latin and English at Pacelli from 1966-1984 and in Rochester Public Schools from 1985-88 and 1995-2010. In between those years, he worked several jobs in Austin, coming back to Pacelli as a librarian and Latin instructor from 2011-2018. George coached boys basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys cross-country, boys track and served as athletic director from 1978-1984. George remains active in many service organizations in the Austin community. He and Linda love spending time with their grandchildren.

Favorite Pacelli memories for George include attending state tournaments, building relationships with faculty both in and out of school, attending Pacelli’s annual galas where he and Linda had their first date. George shares two of his favorite sayings that have stood the test of time—PMA (positive mental attitude) all the way!” and “Happy Friday Eve” still said among faculty and students on Thursdays.

Linda’s favorite memories include the relationships she developed among colleagues, learning from her students young and old, sporting events, theater productions, humanity classes that gave students the opportunity to be creative, homecoming and prom events. One of her greatest honors was presenting her advisory class of four years at Pacelli’s 2018 graduation ceremony.