Memory Lane: 50 Year Commemoration

What a wonderful surprise I received this year. Right out of the blue Peter Hobday (a friend of my brother’s whom I had not seen since the 1960s) contacted me and sent me these photos of my brother’s band from over 50 years ago. It made my day!

2018 marks the 50th year that my brother Johnny was killed in a horrific car accident in 1968.

❤It made my heart smile to see a few photos!❤

Pete Hobday, John Swainson, Johnny Czech, Don Barton, Don Simpson.


Don Barton, Pete Hobday, Johnny Czech, John Swainson, Don Simpson.

I was ecstatic to say the least!! I did not have these pictures. 

Peter also sent an audio recording of some of the songs the group played with Johnny drumming – music to my ears as you can imagine!!! I’m listening now as I write.

I was moved to tears and so excited to listen to it! These guys were awesome at such a young age. I truly believe they could have become famous. For me, they are famous and I will treasure this recording all the days of my life!!!

Peter Hobday wrote:

“I still remember his grin after all these years.

I remember your mom fussing about us and getting our “look” just right before shows (straighten vest, roll up sleeves, adjust collar 🙂 .

I played rhythm guitar. John Swainson was the guitar genius and Johnny nailed the percussion.  All the other guys played guitar (no bass back then).”

This led me to check Facebook and I was able to connect with three more of the guys in the group who shared with me some happy memories.

John Swainson sent this photo and wrote:

“Johnny was a huge inspiration in my life and I think of him often. I truly believe he was destined for greatness!  The photo of him on the drums is the only other photo I had. I wish I had more. It was fun following the Moon Beats thread on FB . A real trip down memory lane. The Moon Beats was the first band I ever played in and holds a special place in my heart. I remember practicing in your basement.”       

Don Simpson wrote:

“I also played hockey with Johnny for a team representing North York. In addition to his great drumming he was also a really good goalie.

Johnny really did have a big influence in my life. After a few years when another drummer quit I became the drummer AND when Johnny left the hockey team I replaced him as the new goalie. As John Swainson said, I as well think he was destined for greatness.” 

Don Henderson  (in the band J D and the Lords) wrote:

“Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the J D and The Lords band. Sure wish I did. We had some great times in that band. I remember Johnny painting the name on his bass drum skin in old English letters at your house like it was yesterday. And practicing at your house on Diagonal Road when you moved from Santa Barbara Road. I do remember your cousin (Marion) visiting and I think I actually stayed over at your place a couple of times that summer. Just writing this made me think of John’s fantastic train set.”

❤  ❤  ❤  ❤  ❤ ❤  ❤  ❤  ❤ ❤  ❤  ❤  ❤ ❤  ❤  ❤  ❤

Thank you ever so much for sharing your memories with me, I am overjoyed! Words are a treasure and bring a smile to my heart! 

Johnny was a popular guy at school. I was at our school reunion a few years ago and it truly warmed my heart to hear the wonderful things people shared with me about Johnny. 

Today is Johnny’s birthday and he would be 68. My dear cousin Marion always calls me on his birthday and she sent this note today:

“Hallo, heute denken wir an johnny-dietmars 68. Geburtstag … 50 jahre hier nicht mit uns gelebt, man kann es kaum glauben.”

A few of the loving comments I’ve received:

Lynda – Oh my, I will always remember Johnny, I had such a crush on him when we were kids. What fond memories, of you and I dancing for Johnny’s band in our go-go boots. He was so handsome and a good friend.

Vicki – Wow, great to see him, he was gorgeous and so nice.

Karen – I remember singing, or lip singing and Johnny played the drums. I looked so forward to those practices because I also had such a crush on him and thought he was so cool and good looking!

Shirley – Everyone who was lucky enough to have known him is missing him as well.

Doug – Every guy was jealous of Johnny when it came to girls. We all knew they were crazy about him.

It’s been heartwarming to read the comments!

As the years go by, I do not miss him less, I only miss him more.

Death is only a breath away.

Cherish every day and treasure your family and friends!


About carmen

Let’s make the world a better place with compassion.
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23 Responses to Memory Lane: 50 Year Commemoration

  1. Lawrence Kraft says:

    Hi Carmen,
    I was doing a search with Johnny’s name and your site came up, we have never met but I thought you might find my story interesting, As an avid jogger, part of my route is going through York Cemetery here in North York, I noticed a family monument called Horton with Tims name on it (and Yes it was the late famous hockey player and former owner of the Coffee and Doughnut outlets) as I approached I had an eerie feeling and looked down and there was Johnnys headstone! I stood there for a moment and reflected as I remembered Johnny from my early days at Willowdale Jr High School (around 1964-65) and Northview SS later on, although we were never close friends I was always in awe of his lively nature and musical talent. I still remember his drum solo at the school auditorium and the girls screaming excitedly at him! So getting back to Tim Horton and Johnny ironically both had passed on through a tragic single-car accident (one in his prime and the other cut down early in his life) the only Saving Grace out of all of this is the engraving on the bottom of Johnny’s headstone slightly covered by the maple seeds are the inspiring words “Faith, Hope and Love”
    Regards from
    Lawrence Kraft
    PS I would like to send you the picture of the Head Stone

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      I’m soooo happy to meet you here Lawrence! You have touched my heart with your story! Your comment has brought bittersweet tears to my eyes, actually streaming down my cheeks as I read your words! As you know, Johnny died in December and it is a very emotional time for me. Your comment is a lovely gift, a treasure worth more than gold! It makes me immensely happy to think that others might pass by that little gravestone and remember Johnny, as you have.

      Thank you for doing a search on Johnny and finding this post about him. I appreciate you taking the time to write. This is such a blessing!

      Yes, I noticed Tim Horton’s gravesite only a stone’s throw from my brother’s, both killed in single-car accidents, alone late at night. Life on earth is short and sometimes much too short. My faith is in God, my hope is in the Lord and His love is amazing! ❤️John 3:16

      God bless you!
      Faith, hope and love,

      PS. Please do send a picture and I will post it here. You can use my contact page. Thank you!


  2. utesmile says:

    Dearest Carmen, I read this post a few times as it is so wonderful, giving these photos to you and memories and the great comments from his friends. A perfect gift for his 68th Birthday, 50 years after his death. A wonderful tribute from you and his friends. I know you have great love for him and that will never change. He was a great brother and person and it is so good to hear that others still remember him so vividly too. Hugs dear Carmen ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      Dear Ute, thank you with all my heart! ❤️ Your hugs and kindness are truly appreciated! The words of Johnny’s friends are as much of a treasure as the photos! And the recording of the band with Johnny playing his drums is priceless!! 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautifl tribute :)))) I can imagine how important such things are for you. A very moving story 🙂 Kisses – Margot :)))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Johnny was such a handsome young man! This is a lovely tribute to the brother you lost far too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. purpleslob says:

    So fabulous, Carmen!! Johnny was a handsome guy, alright!
    How precious to have these memories shared with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful tribute! It’s so great to read the words of people who adored the uncle I never got to meet. I’m glad you are keeping his memory alive. He seemed like such a talented and popular guy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • carmen says:

      Thanks so much Jean! It’s sad that you never got to know your Uncle Johnny, but now you can hear him play the drums, he was only 15 in this recording! AMAZING!



  7. josep-maria says:

    My dear Carmen! I know how important he was and is your brother in your life, and therefore how important it has been to be able to recover all these testimonies, the photos, the recording, the comments of the people who loved him. Through you, from your previous posts, I discovered the greatness of Johnny, and I am sure he was a great person, the comments you have added only ratify him, A touching post, a post so nice and sensitive … A post Precious … of you and your brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      My dear Josep-Maria, I am so thankful for your kind comments, always so encouraging! You are very thoughtful! Your words are like a hug from a distance! 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ralph says:

    What a lovely thought to send you photos and audio of your brother. Awesome ! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. danny says:

    Wow….what a treasury of memories, what a tribute to Johnny by you and so many of his friends.

    May God and all these tributes comfort you. Hugs and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      A treasure indeed! I’m so happy they recorded some songs and that there are a few pictures! Thanks so much for your prayers and comforting words!



  10. Jodie says:

    What an incredible gift to you, to now have these photos to treasure your brother. Sending you hugs and love.

    Liked by 1 person

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