Marist Brother William Edward (‘Bill’) Dillon, an Old Paradian and uncle to the Collingwood Football Club’s Shaw brothers Ray, Tony and Neville, has died peacefully in Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital at the age of 90.
Pictured here on the right with Br. Peter Howes in West Heidelberg in 2017, Br Bill, who adopted Stanislaus as his religious name, died on Monday morning having been admitted to hospital on August 30.
An unnamed death notice recorded that “Bill had recently enjoyed a number of celebrations to recognise his 90th birthday” – one with his family, one with former students and one with fellow Marist Brothers.
“He was loved, admired and respected by his family and friends, his confreres and his ex-students. May he rest in peace,” the notice read.
Back in 1946, young Bill Dillon completed Leaving Class A at Parade College East Melbourne with the likes of the late Bill Sullivan and Peter Walker. That year, he capably served as a member of the College’s Air Training Corps and featured amongst the best bowlers for the Premiership-winning senior XI which managed five wins and a draw from its six outings. Bill is pictured standing in the back row, second from the left, in the ’46 team photo.
In The Paradian’s Class notes of ’46, the correspondent reported: “Our two Brunswick representatives, David Saunders and William Dillon, soon acclimatized themselves to Parade, being prominent in football and cricket respectively”.
Norm Nugent, in an email to the Old Paradians’ Association, recalled that Marist Brother Stanislaus, as Bill Dillon, attended Parade for one year.
“From my recollection of the religious honour board at Parade he was the only Marist Brother named. He made the Parade X1 and often related the selection process by Brother Quane, who allowed all aspiring cricketers to line up in the asphalt yard of the Bluestone Pile and bowl one ball and face one ball.
Bill became a Marist brother in 1948, a tick over 70 years ago. In a letter to Chris Roberts in 2013, he wrote: “The Brothers who taught me lived a simple, perhaps a life of poverty, but remained cheerful and caring. A persistent call over many years could not be denied so I followed them”.
“ . . . I have enjoyed the journey of community, sharing life with great men and being helped on the way in a most fraternal manner,” Brother Dillon wrote.
“My life as a Marist Brother has brought me in touch with many parents and students whom I now regard as fine friends. I feel my teaching, sport and other gifts have caused others to benefit.”
Br Dillon’s love for sport followed him into teaching at the old Marcellin College campus in Camberwell and from 1953-1955 he served as Sportsmaster between his full-time duties as a teacher.
Norm recalled that Brother Dillon then relocated to Kilmore for what was a substantial period at Assumption. “In 1956 he coached the senior XI and XVIII teams,” Norm said. “I was in Year 11 and clearly recall his fine 74 on the Darraweit ground, which had a cow track across the pitch.
“Assumption scored a rare win over Parade at St Kevin’s in 1956 and Br Marius let the year 11 modern history class off an essay that week because Bill Mc Laughlin was a class member and a player with the XV111.”
In 1990, Br Dillon returned to Marcellin as classroom teacher and Religious Education Co-ordinator for Years 7 and 8.
“By this time there were many lay teachers which was a completely different scene to my first Marcellin days when only Brothers formed the staff,” Br Dillon said.
“I felt at home with the lay staff and was able to learn from them. For a period I was the sole Brother and found myself very welcome. It was during this time that all classes moved over to the Bulleen site.”