Just a few short months ago, longtime East Boston DJ and Savio Alum John DiMille took to Facebook on New Year’s Eve and offered words of hope for the New Year.
“Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone and let’s say goodbye to 2020,” wrote DiMille, who was the house DJ for the former Jimmy Maggs for many years. “Let’s pray for a great 2021. For those who went to Jimmy Maggs in East Boston I would play (Frank Sinatra’s) “My Way.” This song would be playing and I would do the countdown with big screen live from New York City.”
DiMille called 2020 a ‘tough year’ for many and looked forward to getting past the pandemic and back to a life of normalcy.
Sadly, on Friday, March 6 DiMille, a lifelong resident of Orient Heights, died with his wife and sons by his bedside.
DiMille worked as a healthcare Management Information Systems Director for many years but was best known as East Boston’s “Number One DJ Johnny D”.
“Today the airwaves are quiet and dance floors are empty as we have lost one of the great ones, DJ John DiMille,” said fellow DJ Jimmie Espo, who was mentored by DiMille. “He is the man that gave me my start as a DJ. John was instrumental in teaching me what it takes to be successful with a career in music. At 16 years old, John put me in bars and clubs–out of my element and forced me to learn all decades and genres of music making me the DJ I am today. There isn’t a moment of success I’ve had that John hasn’t congratulated me on. He was truly one of my biggest cheerleaders. For those that knew him, John was kind, caring and full of life… I will miss him with all my heart.”
Longtime friend and fellow St. Dominic Savio High School classmate Joseph Ruggiero said DIMille’s love for his family and friends was unmatched.
“From the streets of East Boston to the classrooms of St Mary Star-of the Sea School, through the corridors of St. Dominic Savio High School and into the Gymnasium of Savio High or onto the sports fields of his favorite team, John was always there cheering or lending a helping hand,” said Ruggiero. “In September of 1973, John entered St. Domenic Savio as a freshman and became a Spartan. As a Spartan, John was devoted to classmates and the Salesian community with an unconditional friendship that started and never ended.”
Ruggiero said DiMille devoted himself to his school, classmates and the Spartan way.
“After four incredible years he graduated and made a commitment that few ever follow through and that was to keep the Class of 1977 together through the years,” said Ruggiero. “John continued his education but never forgot a Spartan, a Salesian and East Boston. John’s education took him into computers and advanced himself quickly, soon becoming an MIS Director for healthcare—running MGH and Dana-Farmer Institute systems. During that time, he always was in touch with a fellow Spartans and a Salesian Brothers or Priests. He volunteered his DJ skills and equipment for non profits particularly the Salesian Boys & Girls Club and the Make a Wish Foundation.”
Ruggiero said while doing all these things he met the love of his life, Dorothea Papa in 1981.
“Within two years they were married,” said Ruggiero. “Dorothy had already heard and learned about John’s love and devotion. She was a remarkable wife always standing by his side and always helping and supporting him.”
Mariann Chiulli Sampson-Nicoletti remembered DiMille as one of the nicest guys around.
“I always loved engaging in conversation with him and reminiscing about our Disco Days,” she said. “He was one of the best DJ’s to have come out of East Boston, along with Jimbo and Chris Lapore. Keep spinning those records in the sky and watch over your beloved family. You are truly going to be missed.”
George Ferullo said DiMille was truly “Mr. Savio”.
“I remember coming in as a freshman at Savio in 1976. I felt out of place,” he said. “There were lots of East Boston and Revere students and being from Chelsea I felt like I didn’t fit in. During the first week there was a pep rally for the football team and John led that rally. It was fun with a lot of energy. At that point I knew I wanted to be a Spartan and knew I made the right choice. Thank you John DiMille for having such a positive effect on my life at such a young age. May you Rest In Peace, fellow Spartan.”