Br Douglas (Evin) Zoch (former staff)
November 21, 2022
St Patrick’s College was saddened by the passing of Brother Douglas (Evin) Zoch on 23 October 2022.
Br Zoch was the longest-serving Christian Brother at St Patrick’s College.
He made his vows to the Christian Brothers on Christmas Day, 1954 and worked in a number of communities, including St Monica’s, Moonee Ponds; Parade Preparatory, Alphington; St Mary’s Technical, Geelong; St Joseph’s Technical, Abbotsford; St Paul’s Technical, Ballarat as Principal; St Joseph’s Technical, South Melbourne as Principal before arriving at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat in January 1976.
He commenced teaching Year 7 social studies, Mathematics, and Christian Doctrine.
As well as teaching roles, Br Zoch supported the College in various roles, including Master-in Charge of the Sports Room, Dormitory Master, Junior School Co-ordinator, Cadet Unit Quartermaster, Year 9/10 Boarding House Master, Boat House Manager, U14 Football coach, school squash coach, Property and Building Maintenance (which included the manager of 1300 lockers and locks), College Caretaker and Grounds Person.
He was often acknowledged and appreciated for his untiring assistance at College Sports events and fetes.
His dedication to St Patrick’s College is fondly remembered by staff and students over a long 40-year history.
During the annual Valedictory celebrations, Br Zoch’s work was often highlighted in the College Annuals, including the following statements by students of the time:
“He has taught all of us the true meaning of dedication, working well beyond the call of duty, and his efforts should always be appreciated.” – Adrian Barake, 1993 College Captain
“As Br Zoch says, neglected opportunities do not come back. Br Zoch, the man on whom the success of many College functions depends, will remain in my memory as a tireless worker and as a teacher for whom only complete concentration would suffice. To drop a pen during his Maths class would, on a good day, demand an apology and, on a bad day, would incur the wrath of Br Zoch.” – Chris Lane (1991), Year 12
He has also been remembered by current staff member and Old Collegian John Richards as “a fine man who always worked to put others first”.
“He was certainly well regarded by Old Boys who had been taught by him over the years.
“Br Zoch was highly respected for his work around the grounds in the post 2000 period, but prior to that ‘Zochy’ was a very well-regarded maths teacher.
“Many of his teaching methods were unconventional but they were highly effective and probably ahead of their time.
“Many staff would only know Br Zoch for his work around the grounds in the post 2000 period, but prior to that ‘Zochy’ was a very well-regarded maths teacher. I would go as far as to say, the best maths teacher that I ever had. Classroom management was a non-issue with Zochy as he set his fair expectations early in year and he was consistently maintained them throughout the year. You knew where you stood. Every boy who went into one of his maths classes came out a better mathematician at the other end. I know, I certainly did.
“He would often share little gems of wisdom such as, “A smile is something that costs little but is worth much” and “It is the early bird that catches the worm”. He would set an example to those around him, he would live out true Gospel Values before they were fashionable.
“Over the years Br Zoch performed many tasks none greater than his role as Quartermaster of the SPC Cadet Unit. This was a mountainous task, as he was responsible for all of the uniforms: trousers, shirts, boots, berets, jumpers, belts for the two hundred or so boys involved in the program. In addition to this, he and his Q Store platoon, were responsible for the organisation of tents, food, provisions, lamps and the telephone system required for the week-long annual camp, usually held in the Enfield State Forrest. His organisational skills were unsurpassed.
“His Q store platoon was usually made up of boys who were at the margins but he had the ability to enhance every boy’s sense of self-worth by teaching them vital skills such as communication, organisation, maintenance of machinery, basic building projects and many other things. One such thing was the shop that he used to run from the back of a truck on Cadet Camp. As a way of brightening the lives of the many Year 9 boys camping in the bush for a week he would move around the camp sites each night with the Q Store boys running the shop, selling chips sweets and other assorted products. He was a one-man VCAL course.
“St Pat’s has lost a significant figure. One of God’s good men.”
There was also a more recent outpouring of grief on the SPC OCA Facebook page as the school community learnt of Br Zoch’s recent passing, with former students and staff reminiscing about their interactions with Br Zoch over the years.
Some of these comments are included below:
“Br Zoch, a true example of service. A great man who was everywhere all the time and who never slept. Thank you for all that you did for the College and its community.”
“Br Zoch was my teacher in 1995. I remember him well. If I didn’t rule my lines/borders on the loose leaf A4 straight, he would straighten me out! I learnt the art of presentation, neatness and pride in my homework thanks to this great man.”
“RIP The Ghost. I remember in about year 9 doing the Basketball marathon – 24 hours in the gym. A few of us Going for a walk through the school at about 4am and Zochy rides past on his old bike. Then later seeing him on a ride on mower on the 2nd oval at about 5am. Could just appear out of nowhere when you were up to no good. Great teacher.”
“An amazing teacher, up there with the best I ever experienced, had a positive impact on me and so many others. RIP Br Zoch.”
“Rest easy Br. Zoch, an absolute workhorse who did everything with little fuss. Fond memories of a kind and gentle man.”
“I remember with amazement as Br Zoch flicked through all of the 56 keys on his key ring, all pretty much identical and not labelled, and without falter named what each one was for.”
A Requiem Mass for Br Zoch was held at the Nazareth House Chapel on 2 November by celebrant Bishop Peter Connors and assistance from Fr Peter Hudson (SPC 1953-60).
Former Headmaster Br Bill Wilding gave the eulogy and kindly shared his words of remembrance on Br Zoch, which will be read here
Rest in peace.