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GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — John Lane, who directed band at Germantown Middle School in a career that spanned more than 30 years, died Monday night of complications from COVID-19, his wife Diane Lane said.

Lane was a beloved band director who introduced many students to the love of instrumental music. Students are logging on to the “We LOVE John Lane!” Facebook group to express their fondness for the retired educator.  

Lane retired in 2016 from Shelby County Schools.

“You kind of forget that these teachers, they mean a lot to kids, I mean a lot to students because they’re there for them all the time,” said Meghan Triplett, one of the thousands of students that Lane taught. “When I think back to my first introduction to music, I will always think of think of Mr. Lane, always think of that smile and I always think about just the warmth and the care that he always showed to me, my family, to my parents. That is a name that we will forever, forever say in our house.”

Former student Kelly Montross called Lane “just the nicest guy ever.”

“Always a smile on his face,” Montross said. “He never made anyone feel inadequate and he’s always just believed in everyone and was like if this route may not be for you but let’s try this route, like we’re gonna get music into your life one way or another.”

Lane’s impact will continue to live on through the lives of students, one tribute at a time.

“While we’re all mourning him I hope this is a time where we celebrate him, and I hope his family just feels the love of like how special he really really was to a lot of people, and he’s not someone that will ever be forgotten,” Tripplett said.

The family plans a small service this week. They plan a larger more public event to celebrate his life May 13 at Ellendale United Methodist Church.