Ray Vincent Dignan (SPC 1951-54, PY1955)
September 10, 2021
We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Ray Vincent Dignan (SPC 1951-54, PY1955) who passed away recently.
Ray’s funeral mass was celebrated by Fr Greg Morgan at the Charles Borromeo Church, in Ryde, Sydney on September 1, 2021. He is survived by Elaine, Phillip, Gerard and Anthony and their families.
Ray, a boarder from Colac, was extremely active in student life at SPC. He was a member of the Sodality of Our Lady Councillors, Holy Name Society Executive, St Vincent de Paul, St Peter’s Junior Seminary, an Under Officer in the cadets as well as the Senior Sports Captain of the Football and Athletics.
He was a member of the 1954 First XI Cricket premiership team, but football and athletics were his real passions.
Ray captained the First XVIII Football Team in 1954. Despite being awarded the College’s Football Best and Fairest Cup, Ray would have been shattered to have played in the school’s reported first football grand final defeat in 50 years, losing to Ballarat College.
The 1944 College Annual described the St Pat’s football team as no means a weak combination with “players of splendid fighting spirit like J O’Shannassy, C Castle, R Dignan, M Younger, K Shea, J Illott and M Bourke…” and also described Ray as having plenty of “skill and dash”.
Ray was regularly named in the best and was a member of the 1953 First XVIII BPS Champions premiership team, as well as the 1952 First XVIII, where his football talents were recorded in the 1952 College Annual as the following “a very useful rover and forward. Never outstanding, but always consistent. A very neat mark and a very accurate kick for goal. Always played on and looked for a teammate”.
Ray was also captain of McCarthy House and a talented member of the College’s athletic team throughout his schooling at SPC. He finished second in the open mile championship and 800-yard events in 1954, and third in the 220 yard and 440 yard championship events.
Ray also represented SPC at the Melbourne Combined Sports in 1954, finishing second in the 880 yards, and was a member of the SPC Athletics team in 1953 and also in 1952, when the team was named BPS and Victorian ACSS champions.
He was a member of the school’s Under 16 Relay Champions team in 1951, alongside L Plummer, K Clavarino and W Gleeson.
While Ray’s life after SPC took him into the world of banking, his passion for football never dimmed.
He was made a life member of both the Kolora Football Club, and Kolora Noorat Football Netball Clubs.
Ray was a playing premiership coach of the 1962, 1963 and 1964 Senior Football Premierships at Kolora and was a treasured friend of many in the football community during this time. A premiership player from this era remembered Ray as a shrewd and disciplined coach, who knew how to inspire and get the best out of his players.
Ray’s arrival spurred a great run of success for the Kolora club, which has since won 24 senior premierships.
In a moving tribute to their former premiership-winning coach, the committee, players and supporters of the Kolora Noorat Football Netball Club said of Ray, “although living in Sydney for many years, he remained a loyal supporter of the club and its achievements and is fondly remembered”.