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1945 - 2014 |  Notice | Condolences
JONATHAN DYER Obituary
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December 29, 2014

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December 29, 2014

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Memories and Condolences
This Guest Book will remain online permanently courtesy of Chadwick & McKinney Funeral Home Inc..
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DYER Pages (100+)
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June 3, 2014
In junior school, John told wonderful "shaggy-dog" stories in class, which annoyed the teachers, but amused me and fellow classmates.
I am impressed by all he accomplished...Farewell. Charlie Heckscher
May 12, 2014
Remarks Delivered at the Memorial Service for Jonathan Dyer, May 10, 2014

I first got to know Dyer (I always called him “Dyer”) when I started in the eighth grade at what he often referred to as “The Haverford School for Refined Young Gentlemen.”
Dyer was the guy who provided the distracting doodles in math class when things got boring, which was all the time.
He was my teammate on the swimming team.
He was the drummer in our rock-and-roll band.
He was my business partner, my golfing buddy,
The godfather to my first-born,
And he was my best friend. In fact, we were so close that when Dyer took DeeDee to Bermuda for their honeymoon, I went too. But there's not enough time to get into that.

Dyer was everything you wanted in a friend. He was loyal, kind, patient, forgiving, energetic, funny, and fun. But what you need to know about Dyer was that all these fine qualities and his many accomplishments didn't just spring from a fully formed genius. Like everyone else, Dyer built his unique personality on a foundation of what I will call character-building experiences, some of which I was fortunate enough to share in.

Many of our early adventures involved Dyer's baby-blue Volkswagen Beetle. Actually, it wasn't Dyer's; it was his mother's, but somehow she never needed it when we did. And if anyone ever asks you how many clowns you can fit into a vintage Beetle, the answer is seventeen. I looked it up. But in our case, two clowns proved more than sufficient.

Many have already mentioned Dyer's kindness. He was kind. No matter who you were Dyer could always find something nice to say about you. Like the time we were beetling down Conestoga Road and he turned to me and said, “You know, Stack, you have the longest eyelashes.” Now I found that a little disturbing . . . but not for the reason you might think. Because while Dyer was checking out my eyelashes, I was checking out the car stopped in front of us that he was about to plow into - which in fact he proceeded to do. I'm not quite sure how he explained the front end of the Beetle to his mother; I skipped that part of the adventure.

Another thing about Dyer. I never saw him panic under pressure. Whatever the situation, Dyer always managed to keep his cool and deal with it. Like the time one summer when we decided to beetle to the Uptown Theatre to see the Motown Revue. For those of you who don't know it, the Uptown Theatre was Philly's equivalent of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem – located in the heart of North Philadelphia - not exactly home turf for two refined young gentlemen from The Haverford School.
But we had a plan. We'd park as close to the theatre as we could; stroll unobtrusively to the theatre; enjoy the show; walk swiftly, but again unobtrusively, back to the Beetle; and then get the hell out of there. And we executed all phases of the plan perfectly, until we got back to the Beetle after the show to find the car keys locked securely INSIDE THE CAR.
At this point I was no help. But Dyer didn't panic. He figured the best bet was the cops. They're always towing parked cars and sometimes those cars had to be locked, so the cops probably had some do-hickey they slipped in over your window to pull up the lock button.
So we waited for a cop to show up, while we conversed uncomfortably with the local populace, who wanted to know, with varying degrees of menace, who we were; what we were doing there; would we like to sample some of the local products for sale; and what-not.
Finally, a cop comes by; Dyer hails him; explains the situation; and asks whether the cop has something that can help us get the car unlocked.Whereupon the cop says, “Sure, kid”; takes his do-hickey, which turns out to be a billy club; and smashes the driver's side window into smithereens. More character-building.

Another thing that I loved about Dyer was his passion. Others have mentioned his passion for golf, which I was happy to facilitate for many years. But Dyer was also pathologically passionate
for Philadelphia's miserable sports teams. On one occasion this passion took us again to North Philadelphia – again in the Beetle – to Connie Mack Stadium – to root for our favorite Phillies player, Dick Stuart, whom Dyer would later name his daughter after. Now Dick Stuart was a lumbering first baseman whose fielding ineptitude had earned him the nickname Dr. Strangeglove,. But occasionally – only occasionally - he could knock the cover off the ball. So there we were, in the late innings of an otherwise lackluster game, with Dyer engrossed in a cup of ice cream, and what do you know, Dick Stuart comes up and wallops a towering home run. And we leap to our feet; and Dyer puts down his ice cream; and we do the high-fives (no chest-bumps in those days); and when the celebration dies down, we sit back down. Me on my empty seat, and Dyer on his ice cream.

Finally, I want to say something about Dyer's courage. When things went wrong, Dyer was always prepared to face the music and deal with it bravely. Like the time on that Bermuda honeymoon I mentioned, when he and I were cavorting about a hundred yards offshore, and we decided it would be really funny to take our bathing suits off and wave them at DeeDee on the beach. Except that Dyer's bathing suit happened to contain the key to his motorbike, which was soon drifting slowly and irretrievably to the ocean floor twenty-five feet below. Now came time for Dyer to face the music: to swim to shore (bathing suit back on) and explain to DeeDee (who didn't think the gag was all that funny in the first place), that she could scrap their honeymoon activities for the rest of the day and wait on the beach while he took her motorbike all the way back to the other end of the island where their hotel was, picked up a spare key to his motorbike, and came all the way back, after which the two of them could then go all the way back to their hotel. Now that took courage. And somehow I had the feeling as they finally rode off together into the sunset that Dyer was in for a little more character-building before the night was over.

One final thing: My first business venture with Dyer was the iconic Los Perdidos rock-and-roll album, which we recorded in someone's basement in 1963. Let's just just say: We weren't exactly the Beatles; in fact we weren't even Freddy and the Dreamers. And while we managed to sell a few copies of the album, there were a lot more that we didn't sell. But I heard the other day that a copy of that Los Perdidos album recently sold on eBay for $250. It has apparently become – like so many things that seem worthless at first - a collectors' item. And I would say the same thing about my experiences with Dyer. Many of them may have seemed not-so-valuable at the time, but now for me they're collectors' items.

Steve Stack
May 8, 2014
Jon's Family

We played together for many young years. Bikes around Haverford College; war in the Preston School weeds. Summer was especially fun with it's freedom and abandon. As we grew we went our separate ways. It's been 55 years since 8th grade at Haverford. The last I saw of him.

Funny, I can remember how we enjoyed life's innocence before we grew up.

My deepest sympathies to you on his passing. I only have childhood/childish memories, but they are wonderful to remember.
May 8, 2014
Jon was a great friend. I met him when in 1968 we were both freshman teachers at The Booth School. We scarcely knew what horrors awaited us there. If you're a Haverford graduate, you probably heard about Mrs. Booth--it was her world and we served at her pleasure. So many horror stories, so little time. Back to Dyer...we both taught math over the summer to classes of 2-5 kids. I had forgotten how to do square roots and we has just come to that section in our textbook. So I excused myself under the pretext of needing the bathroom, ran out of the room down to Dyer's class, beckoned him out into the hallway and whispered, "quick, Dyer, how do you do square roots?" He showed me quickly, i ran back to the bathroom, flushed the toilet for verisimilitude, and carried on with the class. Two other events stand out: Jon and I both hated/questioned the existence of the comic strip Henry. You remember Henry--the mute kid of indeterminate age who went fishing every day and caught a boot or some other nonfish every day. Maybe Henry would have an exclamation point in a thought baloon above his head if the artist was really cooking that day. So: on my 25th birthday Dyer gave me a present in the form of a poorly wrapped shoebox. Inside: he had clipped one year's worth of Henrys (including the Sunday Rotogravure version) from the Philadelphia Bulletin. Closer inspection revealed that Henry was truly existential--or maybe nihilistic--because he did nothing but fish and caught nothing but effluvia for a year. [Note to self: check to see if Henry was French in origin. Henri?] The second thig was Dyer's suggestions for a name for our firstborn. Since our family name is Maddock, it was easy to suggest Otto (Ottomaddock, get it?). But Dyer took it to the next dimension with Phleg, Dog, Veg-a- and 20 or 30 more. I hope these stories illustrate what a great friend Jon was--smart, silly, caring, old school and in the words of Henry, ____________.
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