Vale – John Dillon

The Mentone Grammar community is greatly saddened by the loss of John Dillon (JD) who passed away on Monday 15 January 2024, just two days before his 97th birthday.

Mentone Grammar had the privilege of welcoming John and his daughter Sandy, who travelled from their home in Queensland, to attend the special Centenary Founders’ Day Service in March 2023. John proudly cut the traditional birthday cake with two Head Prefects and two students from the ELC in a wonderful representation of the past, present and future of Mentone Grammar. Whenever possible, John would often attend alumni events throughout the years. Most recently, he was thrilled to relay his story as a student of Mentone Grammar in the The Changing Face of Mentone Grammar published to commemorate 100 years of the School.

John commenced at Mentone Grammar in 1931 enrolling at just 3 years and 11 months of age. He is certainly one of the youngest students ever enrolled into Foundation (Prep) and until his sad passing, carried the distinction of being the School’s oldest-living Mentonian. John said that as a young boy without a positive father-figure to aspire to, he could still see very clearly what he didn’t want, thanks to the positive role models at Mentone Grammar who became an important part of his life. These early years gave John a drive to succeed and contribute to the community. He fondly recalls advice from his mother, which he said still holds true. ‘If you’ve got a task, or a job to do – do it to the best of your ability.’ He applied this mantra to all aspects of his life.

Between 1949 and 1966 John, known as the ‘Tank’, played 88 games of football for Power House Amateur Football Club. He was also selected to represent Victoria for the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) on numerous occasions. A life member of Power House, John is described by his peers as one of the ‘toughest competitors ever to don the Green, Black and White, which he wore with distinction for 17 seasons’. John was elected Club President from 1959 to 1961.

After raising his young children in Victoria, John and his wife Lillian (dec) sold their house in the 1970s and used half the money to travel around the world as a family for eight months. When they returned, they settled on the Sunshine Coast.

In 2017 John was awarded the 2017 Sunshine Coast Father of the Year, an honour that put him in the running for the Queensland Father of the Year award. Over the years, he was an active member of his local community, volunteering his time with a Men’s Shed, Riding for the Disabled and Rotary, including travelling overseas to build a community centre with Rotarians.

Our sincere condolences to John’s family. He will be fondly remembered by so many in the Mentone Grammar community.

Labore et Honore

(17 January 1927 – 15 January 2024)