Robert A. Poch
1929 -- 2008

Bob Poch was born in Washington DC, but lived most of his life in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. He attended Catholic elementary and high schools and went on to Notre Dame where he tried out for the football team.  At 150 pounds, he didn't have much of a chance, but demonstrated his positive thinking and great courage, to say the least. He came back to the University of Maryland and made the freshman team. There he joined the Air Force Cadets.

When his father passed away Bob inherited the hardware business in Washington DC, sold it and started a hardware business in Maryland which grew to three stores before he finally retired from business.

He met his future wife, Janice, when they were both members of the local church's young people's group. The group was limited to singles from 18 to "Bob's Age", as Bob was the oldest member. They were blessed with six children, all of whom received a good Catholic education. Five of them attended Catholic Colleges.

Bob loved and was active in sports, mostly football and baseball and sometimes basketball. He encouraged his children to be active in sports.

I first met Bob praying in front of an abortion clinic in Kensington, Maryland. He was a weekly prayer warrior, coming every Saturday morning in all kinds of weather, always wearing his black western hat. He and his wife later became active in West Virginians for Life. Bob's dedication to the unborn gave witness to a life lived in Christ.

It was by chance we both moved to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. This is where I really came to know Bob and his wife, Janice. I soon found he had a deep love of the Traditional Latin Mass. He was a devoted Catholic who attended Mass daily, followed most often by leading others in the Rosary.

It must have been the courage he acquired through sports (tackling men twice his size) and his deep faith that enabled him to speak out to any member of the clergy who did not follow the rubrics. He was not intimidated by anyone. I knew he would not hesitate to speak to the Bishop if the Bishop varied from the rubrics.

Bob and I often had good-natured arguments about the Church. He would insist this or that was wrong, and I would make him prove his point. I would jokingly tell him he was the "Church Belligerent", not the "Church Militant". After many of our good-natured arguments, he would smile and stick a $20 or $50 bill in my shirt pocket when he next saw me and tell me it was for The Defender.  He was an avid supporter of The Defender and often suggested articles to be written.

I never knew a person who accepted his approaching death so well. During the last month of his battle with cancer when he knew he had only a short time to live, he was anxious to meet his Lord. He had a very deep faith in God.

After the last time he saw Bob at Mass, a parishioner told me Bob came up to communion using two golf clubs as canes and, as always, knelt before the Lord and received the Holy Eucharist on his tongue.

Above all, he was a loving, devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather. Bob is survived by his wife, four sons, two daughters, and 21 grandchildren.

Bob will be sorrowfully missed by those of us of The Defenders of the Faith, Inc., as well as many parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul's Church.

Jim Fritz

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