Some sad news

from Saturday 16 July


Dips O’Donnell’s father, John O’Donnell, died this evening (July 16) after a massive stroke. He was a great man. Dips and his five brothers and their mother Mary are very sad, but they were all at the hospital this evening.

John was well-known to many in the Almanac community, through Dips, and also through Dips’s writing. John was also the guest at our Stawell Gift dinner a couple of years ago. He won the Gift in 1955.

Our sympathies are with Dips and his family, Mary, and his extended family.




About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    My condolances Dips.
    Remember the good times you all had together with affection.
    I lost my Dad in 1988 and still miss him

  2. Love and strength to Dips and family. Thoughts r with you all

  3. Rulebook says

    The knackery S thoughts and love is with,Dips and his family !

  4. Peter Hille says

    Very sad news

  5. I’m so sorry to hear the loss of John.
    Rest in peace.
    My condolences to Dips and his family.

  6. The Wrap says

    So sorry to hear the sad news Dips. Our thoughts are with you.


  7. 130 yards to heaven, and breasting the tape before downstairs heard the news.
    I remember so much innocent joy in your many stories of your childhood, Dips. The greatest gift a parent can give. Condolences from AE and I.

  8. Neil Anderson says

    Sorry to hear about your Dad. I always relate to your family stories on the Almanac, especially the pride in your daughter ones. So I can understand your grief in losing someone so close.
    I’m sure the other family members will rally and get you through this difficult time.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Condolences to you and your family, Dips. Thoughts and prayers with you today. Rest in Peace JO’D.

  10. Dave Brown says

    Condolences to you and yours, Dips

  11. Peter Zitterschlager says

    I’m sad to hear of your loss, Dips

  12. Joe Moore says

    My condolences also, Dips. Thoughts are with you and your family mate.

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Sad to hear this Dips, best thoughts for the family.

  14. Vale John O’Donnell

  15. Condolences Dips, take care

  16. Thank you all for your kind thoughts. The Knackery is a remarkable thing. My dear old Dad went out the same way as he did in 1955; fast and clean. We will laugh and cry a lot in the next few days.

  17. Tony Robb says

    Sorry to here of your loss Dips

  18. E.regnans says

    Ahh, Dips.
    We’re very sorry to learn of your Dad’s death.

    “So fill to me the parting glass
    Good night and joy be with you all.”

    Go well.
    DJW and family.

  19. Paddy Grindlay says

    So sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing Dips. Thoughts are with you and your family.

  20. Andrew Starkie says

    Deepest sympathy Dips. Prayers are with you.

  21. Sorry for your loss. Thoughts with you and your family.

  22. Citrus Bob says

    My sincere and deepest sympathy to you Dips and your family on the death of your Dad.
    Take care my friend.
    Citrus Bob

  23. darren groves says

    hi dips .really sorry to learn of johns passing.he was a very special man to me and i will always keep a place for him in my heart . condolences to the family .. darren

  24. John Butler says

    Sad news Dips. But also glad news, as you reflect on the life fully lived.

    May we all go out fast and clean when our time comes.

    Deepest sympathies to your Mum and family.

  25. Stainless says

    My condolences to you and your family Dips. Clearly your dad was a fine man. You will never lose those special memories.
    Best wishes

  26. Deepest condolences Dips. Losing a parent severs an important neux within your life, as if it wasn’t for a parent you would not be here.

    Take care, treasure the memories, and enjoy the journey life takes you from here.


  27. The People's Elbow says

    Sorry to hear about your Dad, Dips. Thoughts are with you and your family.

  28. Luke Reynolds says

    Very sorry to hear Dips. My condolences and thoughts are with you and your family.

  29. Rick Kane says

    Hi Dips

    Very sad for your loss. Thoughts with you and your family xx and as you say let the tears and laughter and memories flow xx

  30. Condolences Dips. We have only met once but through your writing I have come to learn about your family. I have found your various pieces on the Stawell Gift very interesting and its sounds like a huge part of your life with your Dad obviously a huge part of that. There must be so many great memories. Thinking of you and your family at this time.

  31. Dips, old mate,
    Sincerest condolences from Marg and I
    to you and the O’Donnell clan.

  32. Dips our thoughts are with you and your family
    mum and hawky

  33. Peter Clark says

    My condolences to you and your family Dips.

  34. I’m overwhelmed by the response from the Almanac community. It is a marvellous thing. I can’t begin to describe what a great comfort it is, and what a great support. A sincere thank you to you all. I’m very touched.

  35. David Zampatti says

    Small comfort, I know, Dips, but my dad had a big stroke back in ’06, and finally got to hand his leave pass in last October after nine truly awful years for him, mum and all our family.
    For what it’s worth, I’m glad you (and he) have been spared that cruel misery.

  36. Peter Fuller says

    I’m saddened for you and the other O’Donnell family members. It’s obvious that you have had the priceless gift of a loving family and I’m sure that the fine man who has just left the room was instrumental in that – even though it’s apparent that you have all played your part.
    I treasure the recollection of the Almanac Stawell Gift dinner at the Waterside (was it three years ago ?), when I had the privilege of meeting John and having a brief conversation with him. His humility and his interest in my modest running efforts are a cherished memory. And I do recall his Stawell triumph, hearing it on the radio and reading about it in the Sun.
    You won’t need me to urge you to be considerate of each other and caring of yourself in what is one of life’s most difficult experiences.
    Travel well, good friend.

  37. Phill Goulding says

    Dips, our thought are with Clan O’Donnell -.’Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam’ 
    We’ll share a dram with you soon.
    Take care.
    Phill & Maree

  38. Paul Daffey says

    Sorry to hear of your loss, Dips. I think of the weighed-down Holden.


  39. Dips,
    A poem by William Corey I read at my own father’s funeral.

    They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
    They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
    I wept as I remembered how often you and I
    Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.

    And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
    A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
    Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
    For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.

    I guess my point is his “pleasant voices” his “nightingales” are still alive, still heard. And that, I hope, is something to remember at this time.
    Cheers, Anson.

  40. Dips,
    It’s an unimaginable sense of separatin and grief. Condolensces.. Your Dad’s somehow always been there…as he will be forever, though in such a different way. You’ll find moments to chat with him and realize the profound impact parenting has – and what you and yours must have meant to his life.

  41. Deepest sympathies Dips, best to your family


  42. Paul Spinks says

    Life is a sprint, Dips, but some of us only jog.
    Sounds like your dad never left anything on the track.
    Sincere condolences.
    Sorrow and celebration will intermingle.

  43. Paul Young says

    G’day Damo
    Very sad to hear the passing of your dad John. The old mound adjacent to the main grandstand at Stawell won’t be the same without the two Johns. 1957 Stawell Gift winner John (Jack) Carr who passed away a couple of moths ago and now Johnny O’Donnell. Could never miss John with his trademark cap taking in the results.

    Condolences to you and the family.

    Not too many Stawell Gift winners from the 1950’s are still getting around. I had dinner with 1958 Stawell Gift winner Malcolm Durant at the Gift Hotel this year. He’s still pretty sprite for his age so hopefully he will be around for a few more year yet.

    I’m sorry I won’t be at the funeral, should be a great celebration of a wonderful life.

  44. kath presdee says

    Sorry to hear about your Dad, Dips.

    Our condolences and best wishes to you and your family – Kath, Steve and Liam

  45. Sorry to read of your Dad’s passing Dips. It seems that it was a life very well lived. All the best to you and your family.

  46. Hi Dips. Sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Dad. Marj and I are in Europe at present (Spain). Condolences from both of us. Hope to see you after we return in August.

    Thinking of you and your family.


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