Where are they now - John Deany (SPC 1949-53)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College recently reconnected with John Deany (SPC 1949-53), pictured right with his great mate John James (SPC 1948-52) outside the College gates in 1952, who has kindly shared some of his fondest memories of his time as a boarder at SPC, including sitting in class with two future AFL Brownlow Medallists. John has also kindly donated his own prized school sporting trophies back to St Patrick’s, and they are on permanent public display.
“I attended SPC from 1949 to 1953 as a boarder. My parents struggled financially to put me through. We lived in Brunswick and Dad worked overtime as a simple motorbike mechanic so that I could go there. My best friend at primary school (St Ambrose Brunswick) was Russell Mogg, the youngest of the three Moggs – Les (champion North Melbourne footballer) and Fr Kevin (famous priest).
Russell and I are still best friends – he was my “best mate”.
In 1953, Br Healy and Br O’Malley visited my parents and requested that I return to St Patrick’s for another year. I had said farewell at the end of 1952. They kindly offered me a “free year” which fortunately I accepted.
It meant repeating my “Matric” as I only passed three subjects in 1952. I worked very hard as I appreciated the “free year”. At the end of 1953, I got my Matric (First Class Honours in three subjects as well and second in the State in Greek and Roman History), thanks to the great teacher Br Kelty.
At the end of 1953, I won a Commonwealth Scholarship to Melbourne University, but decided to enrol as a primary teacher, which was a great decision, as I taught for 35 years, finishing up as a Principal. I loved teaching, passionately. I met my wife Pam there.
My best friend at St Patrick’s was John James – we sat together in Matric (1952) and both went to Toorak Teachers’ College. Sitting in front of us at St Patrick’s was fellow Brownlow Medallist Brian Gleeson. No wonder the 1952 footy team broke all records!
John and I remained great pals until his untimely death six or seven years ago. I was a pallbearer at his funeral in Robinvale. He was a loyal “Old Boy” and a credit to his family.
Seven or eight years ago, a Brother visited me in Kilsyth and asked if I would donate my sporting trophies for a display at St Patrick’s. I was honoured and they remain on display in the former Brothers’ Residence (now known as Kennedy House).
I represented St Patrick’s in football (1952 and 1953), captained the 1st Cricket XI in 1953, was in the Aths team “the Tennis four”, won a boxing trophy and won the Open Handball Championship in 1952 and 1953.
In 1952, Brian (Gleeson) beat John James in the semi final and I beat Gleeson in the final. In 1953, I easily won the final. I was fortunate to make the St Patrick’s Team of the Decade (1950s) as the centre.
I am married to Pam, had seven children (six alive) and have nine grandkids. I have been so blessed working for 16 years as a volunteer with Mother Teresa’s Sisters in Fitzroy.”