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A ‘Father to many’ as a role model

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A ‘Father to many’ as a role model

A daughter has shared her loving memories after the passing of a community champion who supported countless local charities.

A former Father of the Year and much-loved champion of the community is being remembered fondly, following his death just two days prior to his 97th birthday.

Buderim’s John Dillon – or JD as he was affectionately known – was named the 2017 Queensland Father of the Year at age 90. He was integral in supporting countless local charities over his lifetime.

JD died on January 15.

His daughter Sandy Forster wanted to share details of his upbringing and her favourite memories of her father with My Weekly Preview.

Born in Victoria on January 17, 1927, JD was about four when his father committed suicide, before a chain of events led the young boy to be placed in an orphanage. His mother re-married an alcoholic gambler who lost all the family’s money, which meant she could no longer support her two oldest children.

“After that experience, of all the dreams he could choose for his life, his most treasured was to be a father and have a family,” Ms Forster says.

“He became a committed family man who was a shining example of what it means to be not just a great father, but a gentleman who went out of his way to help those he cared for and people in general – evidenced by his last gesture of donating his body for research.”

JD and his wife Lillian and their three children – Steve, Sandy and Pam – moved to the Sunshine Coast in 1979, settling in Buderim where he began working for the Maroochy Shire Council.

He supported the local community in many ways: volunteering at Riding for the Disabled, at the Nambour Show and Australia Day celebrations, and was a member of the local Rotary club.

“When he was nominated for Sunshine Coast Father of the Year in 2017, he rang me to say he thought it was a hoax,” Ms Forster says.

“He was so humble. He couldn’t believe it. And then when he won, he was so incredibly proud, but couldn’t even attend the award ceremony as he was off helping others in the Solomon Islands with Rotary: building a community centre – at the age of 90.

“Through the many organisations, charities and events supported over the years, he was an inspiration to so many.

“Not just as a father, but as a man.

“He is a walking example of how to be a good man, a loving man, a gentleman.

“He’s very humble and would never ‘toot his own horn’, but he’s someone other men look up to and emulate.

“He’s been inspiring men (family and those who connect with him through his volunteering) for decades.”

Ms Forster says that even without a role model of his own, her father leaves a legacy of becoming one for so many boys and men within his family and the members of organisations he was part of.

“And that legacy will live on through the fathers and sons of those families,” she says.

If you have been affected by this article, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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