Irene “Billie” Kress, 86, Allouez passed away Sunday, June 19 at her home.
Billie was a tremendous friend to members of the UW-Green Bay campus community and played an integral role in helping establish the Phuture Phoenix program at UW-Green Bay. The program lifts the aspirations of at-risk children by pairing them will college-age mentors, providing tours of campus and encouraging them to graduate from high school and pursue further education. Kress provided financial assistance through a leadership gift toward an endowment for the program, but she also provided inspiration. “These children deserve a chance… and kids who are smart enough and ambitious enough should have a chance to go for it… to attend college,” she told the University in 2008. (Read the feature here).
In 2009, Kress received UW-Green Bay’s highest honor for a community partner — the Chancellor’s Award (story here). During the celebration at commencement amid a standing ovation, UWGB Interim Chancellor David Ward commented, “Our students, our University and the entire community owe Billie Kress a debt of gratitude.”
Kress was also a founding member and sponsor of the After Thoughts lecture series at UWGB.
Remarked Phuture Phoenix Director Mary Sue Lavin. “Billie Kress was a community treasure and her legacy will live on through local students supported by her scholarships.”
Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday (June 23) at the Green Bay Botanical Garden, 2600 Larsen Rd, Green Bay. A memorial service will take place at Union Congregational United Church of Christ, 716 S Madison St, Green Bay at 11 a.m. Friday, June 24. See more of her legacy here. You can find a recent story by the Green Bay Press-Gazette here.