A passionate family man and community leader, former Legislative Council member and Deloraine businessman John Loone has died, age 87.
At age 16, a number of events combined to shape Mr Loone into becoming a committed family and community man. Firstly, his mother succumbed to cancer, followed just three months later by an accidental shooting which almost claimed his own life.
Mr Loone miraculously survived the shooting thanks to the efforts of family and friends who got him to hospital in record time. He often spoke of how lucky and thankful he was.
From there, he joined his father Roy to start Deloraine’s first newsagency which became RH Loone and Sons. Recognising the potential for growth, they moved the newsagency to where it stands today.
This became the hub of Mr Loone’s business and community career for the next 40 years while giving back to the community in various roles.
While still in his 20s, Mr Loone purchased a Bedford bus and the school bus and charter business began.
At the young age of 29, he became a Justice of the Peace and remained in that role for 58 years. It was not widely known that he was a probation officer where he helped many young people get their first jobs, and develop life skills under his guidance.
Football played a large part in his life. Mr Loone played 234 games and over time he held the positions of senior and reserves coach, president, treasurer, patron and legend of the Deloraine Football Club. Mr Loone was even known to coach his players at training from horseback.
Mr Loone’s contribution and involvement in the community of Deloraine was a remarkable achievement. He was treasurer of the Deloraine High School parents and friends for 28 years, a Paul Harris fellow of Rotary, and spent 25 years as a volunteer fireman.
As a member of the Legislative Council, Mr Loone worked hard for his electorate. Major achievements in the Deloraine area included championing the upgrades of Ashley Detention Centre, the Deloraine hospital and cleaning up the Deloraine’s riverbanks.
He tirelessly lobbied the government for a grant to start Giant Steps, and after two and a half years of planning and preparation, Giant Steps became a reality with Mr Loone becoming the first chairman.
In Parliamentary Hansard, Mr Loone was described as “…one of nature’s gentlemen, and I think that would be the opinion of all that know him.”
The family would like to thank those who helped care for Mr Loone during his illness. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lesley, his children Rodney, Liz, Louise and Anthony, together with their partners. He has 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.