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Patricia  Zonca

Obituary of Patricia McDow Zonca



Pat passed away peacefully on 12 July, at the age of 91.  Pat was born in San Diego.  After her father Clarence Calvin Mc Dow's death, the family moved to Vallejo, where her Mother Irene and Uncle Jack raised Pat and her brother Jack.  Pat attended St. Vincent Ferrer grammar and high schools, and Holy Names College in Oakland.  Pat received a bachelor of arts degree in history and a teaching credential.


Pat was a gifted teacher and encouraged her students.  She taught high school students at St. Vincent Ferrer,  St. Mary's High School in Stockton, and San Mateo public schools.  Pat married Richard Zonca in 1972, and they moved to Santa Cruz where she began teaching through the Santa Cruz County Adult Education program.  Pat taught the incarcerated at Blaine Street Women's and Men's facilities.    Pat continued to teach until she was 85, and reluctantly retired after a lengthy bout of pneumonia.  Many benefited from her personal attention and concern for them.


Pat realized that when released many inmates did not have a safe place to live and a support system to help them start a new life which resulted in a high rate of recidivism. Pat strongly believed everyone deserves a second chance.  This gave birth to Gemma, a local grass roots program that provides housing to formerly incarcerated women.  Pat worked tirelessly with two former students and friends to bring Gemma to fruition.   Gemma is now part of Encompass Community Services and continues to provide housing.  In 2014, Pat was recognized for her work by Holy Names University with its outstanding alumni award.


Pat enjoyed attending Mass, spiritual retreats and classes, music, dancing, and Rust Nail cocktails with friends, watching late night TV comic shows, with a particular fondness for Stephen Colbert.


Pat and Rich were devout Catholics.  They were married for 43 years before his death in 2015. A memorial Mass  will be held at Holy Cross Church at 10 AM on Friday July 24th.  Because of the Corona virus seating is limited.  Please contact Benito & Azarro Pacific Gardens Chapel to reserve a space. 



In  lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.


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Memorial Mass

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Friday, July 24, 2020
Holy Cross Catholic Church
126 High Street
Santa Cruz, California, United States