Today marks 45 years since the death of my grandfather John Melody Dever, aka Jack. I was 4 years old when he passed, which means I have had to gather most of the knowledge about his life from records and peoples remembrances.
John was born in 1897 in Montreal the son of Irish immigrant parents, Samuel from Donegal and his mother Bridget Melody from Galway. John was the 6th child and 4th son born to the family, eventually that number would grow to 12 children. A big factor that came into play growing up for Jack and his siblings was that his parents were different religions, his father was a strict Presbyterian and his mother a devote Catholic. An agreement was made between Samuel and Bridget that they would raise their girls as Catholics and the boys as Protestants and although this sounds good in theory I am sure it would have created moments of discontent in the home.
The Dever household members were a hard-working lot, they owned a grocery store called S. Dever & Sons that was located on Prince Arthur Street. A memory told to me was of my grandfather going out and delivering care packages from the store on Christmas Eve in the 1930s.
John didn’t inherit the Dever stature, he took more after the Melody family, standing at 5’5″ tall when he signed his attestation papers for WWI. His work as a clerk maybe made it suitable for the Signalling division and after training he served in France.
He collected various items during the war like this drawing he found on the battle field after Cambrai.
After the war ended John travelled to Ireland to visit his Melody relatives. He spent time with his Uncle Tom Melody in New Inn, Galway and met many of his cousins and friends of the family.
Back in Canada Jack continued to improve his skills by taking correspondence courses and starting working at a clerk in the shipping industry. He also was a part of fraternal organizations, the Masons and the Oddfellows. Other societies that he joined was the Montreal Traffic Club and Freight Forwarders Assoc.
Jack didn’t rush into romance. It was’t until 1927, when he was 30 years old that he proposed to his on again off again girlfriend of many years Beatrice Jordan. After their marriage in 1928 they struggled to have a child, many miscarriages later they were born of a son, John when Jack was 40 years old. This was likely a last attempt of having a child as Beatrice was 36 years old at that time. They doted on their son as he was a special gift for the couple.
Jack was well known for his sense of humour and was the host for many occassions, including the banquet for the Montreal Traffic Club in 1960.
John continued to excel in business and became a partner in the shipping office called Johnson & Dever that was located in Old Montreal.
Jack was a kind and gentle man and I can only wish that I would have had more time to know him better.