Dimboola's Harry John dies, aged 87

THOSE who knew Dimboola man Harry John say he was always whistling.

The 87-year-old died on Monday last week at Dimboola Hospital.

He was a life member of the Horsham Rural City Brass Band and was the Horsham bandmaster for 25 years.

During he life, he was also bandmaster at Natimuk, along with several bands in Melbourne. Mr John’s daughter Jan John said music was his lifelong passion.

“He is most noted for playing the Last Post on Remembrance Day – he played it for 79 consecutive years,” Ms John said.

Mr John was seven years old when he made a promise to his mother that he would always play the Last Post.

“His mother’s first husband died in the war and when Dad learned the cornet, she asked him to play in honour of her husband,” Ms John said.

“It didn’t matter where he was on Remembrance Day – he could be in Melbourne or in the middle of the desert, wherever he was, he made sure he played the Last Post.”

In the past few years, Mr John played at the Dimboola RSL’s Remembrance Day.

“He could do so many things well,” Ms John said.

“He used to repair and make musical instruments, he made a banjo from scratch to show he could.” “There wasn’t an instrument he couldn’t play.”

Mr John was also a dedicated member of the community, involved in the Dimboola Lions Club and SES.

“He was also heavily involved with Masonic Lodges,” Ms John said. “If he could help someone, then he did.

“He didn’t want to be patted on the back – he just went out and did what needed to be done.”

Ms John said her father was known for riding around on his gopher. “Wherever he went, he was always whistling,” she said.

“He believed that you can’t feel sad if you’re whistling.”

“If you asked him how he was, he always said he was fantastic.”

Mr John predeceased his wife Nancy by 10 years.

They had three children, Jan, Greg and Bronwyn, along with seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.