Former Gladstone teacher 'Doc' O'Brien passes away
PAST students of South Gladstone State School and Gladstone State High School are remembering the life of popular teacher, Jack O'Brien, after his passing on Christmas Day aged 90.
A teacher in the Gladstone region for 20 years between 1950 and 1970, Jack "Doc" O'Brien drew great respect from his students.
"I don't know if he would have been loved or feared," his son John remembers.
"It was a very different era...but he generally had good rapport with his students and achieved excellent results in the public exams of the day.
"He was a highly organised teacher, had a good knowledge of his subject, and when he didn't, he quickly gained that working knowledge."
Mr O'Brien first moved to Gladstone in 1950 with his wife Shirley Maude, who was also a teacher.
With six of his seven children born in Gladstone, it was at their Agnes Street home that the family lived and shared many happy memories and milestones.
After a 14-year stint at South Gladstone, he moved on to teaching at Gladstone State High for six years.
His move to Gladstone High was a result of scholarship exams being phased out, and grade eight classes moving from primary school to high school.
Mr O'Brien taught mainly maths and science before taking a position as deputy principal in North Rockhampton in 1971.
Because of the timing he taught some students in both primary and secondary schools.
An extremely keen sportsman, and lover of both rugby league and cricket, he spent time coaching school teams and mentoring kids on the sporting fields.
Appointed sports master because of his interests, he was as much a teacher outside the classroom and on sporting trips.
His passion for the games was highlighted with life membership of the Queensland secondary Schoolboys Rugby League Association.
In retirement, Mr O'Brien was an active volunteer with St Vincent de Paul and president of his local Probus club.
Daughter, Trish believes his passion for teaching was a result of his love of sharing knowledge and his interest in helping others.
Both Trish and John believe it was his Catholic faith that underpinned his strong moral values.
"He was an interesting character and loved to share stories about his personal experiences," Trish said.
"He was passionate about sport and went to great lengths to help students achieve their potential," she said.
"I think he was well liked and respected by all who knew him."
Jack O'Brien is fondly remembered as an excellent educator who loved teaching kids, while instilling a strong sense of knowledge and discipline.