Vale: John Styles (1946-2014)

Staff and students in the Melbourne School of Engineering and the Department of Infrastructure Engineering have been saddened at the recent passing of alumnus and staff member John Styles, who was a well loved and respected teacher and colleague for more than three decades.

We send our sympathy and condolences to his family and friends, and offer our thanks to Dr Sam Yuen from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering for contributing the following words of reflection:

John Styles passed away on Monday 27 October after a courageous battle with illness.

John completed a BE (Civil) in 1966 and MEngSc in 1971 at the University of Melbourne. He spent most of his career working at the same university by commencing as a Lecturer in Soil Mechanics at the Department of Civil Engineering in June 1976.

He was later appointed by the Faculty of Engineering as the Director of First Year Studies from 1980 to 1982. In July 1987, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer. John was subsequently appointed as the Deputy Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering between 1997 and 2001; during this period he acted as Head of Department on a number of occasions.  He was later appointed as the Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Studies) from 2004 to 2005 and was also a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.

John was a true gentleman, well loved and respected by his colleagues for his affection and generosity. He was gifted with an exceptional ability in communicating with students, which made him a caring and popular teacher.

John retired on 31 December 2007 and still participated actively as an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Department until his recent illness.

He is survived by his daughter, Carla.

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  1. Walter Antonello says:

    I am very saddened to hear of John’s passing. I remember him as a young lecturer teaching soil mechanics in 1977 and later soil and foundation engineering. I also did electives in final year on foundations of which he was main lecturer along with Peter Moore (another outstanding lecturer on Geotechnical engineering).
    His pleasing manner particularly in tutorials was outstanding. Many things clicked after tutorials with John and they came with wit and humour. There was never any problem asking a stupid question with John, he would always give a great answer.
    Sincere Condolences to daughter Carla on the passing of John.

    Walter Antonello B.E.(civil) 1980

  2. Lisa Chandler says:

    John Styles was my supervisor in the early 1980’s. He was that rare academic: one that encouraged and stimulated genuine enquiry. John was modest and intelligent and I feel lucky to have known him.

  3. Leo Boxhall says:

    I knew John Styles as a 22yo footballer playing for the Preston Methodist Football Club in the Protestant Churches Football League.I was in his team and he was very athletic playing Centre Half Back. I wasn’t so athletic. I remember him so well to this day – a bit off a toff – but he yelled and told me off playing Williamstown Methodists that I wasnt running hard enough. Actually I was stuffed. I’m now 71 John. A nice man Rest in Peace John

  4. Mark Bailey says:

    I have just stumbled upon this news and am sitting here stunned and saddened. John was unquestionably the best lecturer I had while an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne. Erudite, suave, humorous, approachable, friendly, kind and empathetic are all words that immediately spring to mind to describe him. John always had time for his students and we had a lot of time for him.

    My sincere condolences to Carla and John’s close friends.

    Mark Bailey
    BE Civil (Hons) – graduated March 1992

  5. Carla Styles says:

    Thanks to Daniel, Liana and all the other staff and students from Melbourne University who have shared their memories and appreciation of my father. They are cherished by me, and were reciprocated by John, who loved his many years teaching.

  6. Me and my husband are deeply saddened by the news. John was one of the best lecturers we have known from the University. In the 1998 – 2003 we dont actually see him in pipe and leather jacket, but he still have his thick trendy hair styles (not baldish unlike other lecturer 😛 ) and he still have brownish colour attire.
    I really thank him for giving me the sub paper ” first year static” and the extra 2 weeks of private tutorial for the subject, else I would not have graduated on time. He was always helpful when we approached for further explanation with the subjects he taught. He will be remembered in our family.
    Last but not least, we would like to express our sincere condolences and best wishes to his daughter, Carla.
    Liana Samin
    BE.Civil (Hons) / B.Com – graduated March 2003
    Ridwan Susanto
    BE.Civil (Hons) / M.Eng – graduated March 2002

  7. Daniel Kolomanski says:

    I am saddened to hear of John’s passing. In 1976, I and others in my rag tag group were John’s first cohort of students. I remember John as as having a generous and trendily cut head of hair, a pipe and a leather jacket. He came as if part of a package deal with our equally chic brutal off form finish new Civil Engineering building. We Civil Engineering students without a true home of our own and had had to share up util then. John was closer to our age and our genre. It was easy to approach him and seek assistance with whatever part of soil mechanics that was beyond us at the time. It is no surprise that he was so successful and that he succeeded in such wonderful company such as Professor Len Stevens. Apart from his obvious intellectual abilities, he had a wonderful manner that never left you feeling embarrassed by your lack of understanding.

    My condolences and very best wishes to his daughter, Carla.

    Daniel Kolomanski
    B.E. Civil (Hons) – graduated March 1980

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