Vale – John Dods

The Mentone Grammar community is greatly saddened by the loss of John Stanley Dods who passed away on Friday 27 October 2023 following a brief illness.

Mentone Grammar has many fond memories of John, and his wife Jan, who always looked forward to attending the annual Friends of Frogmore luncheons, with John proudly sporting his old school blazer!

John commenced at Mentone Grammar in 1945, and at the age of 9 his parents gave him a ‘cello (violoncello). It had belonged to his grandfather William Whinfield Dods, who was a violin maker in the early 20th century. Both of his parents were very musically inclined; therefore, music also became a large part of John’s life.

His music lessons started with Mentone Grammar teacher Doug Sappey, and later with Milton Thrift, himself an outstanding musician and conductor, who helped create the Mordialloc Symphony Orchestra with Headmaster of the day, Lionel Large and John’s father Stanley Dods. John’s teacher Doug Sappey also played as leader of the Orchestra’s cello section, keeping John on his “desk” so he could keep an eye on him if he made any mistakes. A huge learning curve for 12-year-old John that stood him in good stead for the rest of his musical career.

At the age of 17, John wanted to become a full-time classical musician with the (then) Victorian Symphony Orchestra, now Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, but his parents encouraged him to pursue another path, so he became an Electronic Engineer until he retired at the age of 55. It was at this time John took up the ‘cello again, practicing for hours on end until he was invited to join the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra in 2002, where he worked every year since playing in many concerts and sharing his knowledge and experience with the next generation of young cellist.

Labore et Honore

(17 October 1939 – 27 October 2023)