CAPE ELIZABETH — Dr. Howard “Randy” Deming, a respected radiologist at Maine Medical Center in Portland who had a passion for family and golf, died Sunday after a battle against cancer. He was 81.

Dr. Deming joined the radiology department at MMC in 1965.

He had a long and distinguished career that included three years as chairman of the hospital’s radiology department. In 1987, he stepped down to get back to his work in diagnostic radiology. He also taught students in the residency program.

His wife, Ann Deming, said Monday that he was an excellent doctor.

“His strength was helping other doctors come up with a diagnosis for their patients through radiology tests,” his wife said. “He loved his work. I believe he was very conscientious. A radiologist can’t make mistakes.”

Dr. Deming’s obituary highlights his dedication to numerous organizations, including the American Medical Association, Maine Medical Association and Maine Radiology Association, where he served a stint as president.

Dr. Deming retired from Maine Medical Center in 1995.

Though his career was an important part of his life, nothing surpassed his love for family, according to his wife and daughters.

In 1956, he married Nancy Deming, his wife for 30 years. The couple raised four children. She died suddenly of a brain aneurism at age 55.

His family said he was devastated by her loss. Two years later, his daughter set him up on a blind date to play tennis with Ann, who would become his wife of 23 years. She has two sons from a previous marriage with whom Dr. Deming was very close.

He was remembered by his family Monday as kind, patient, gentle and humble. His wife said he always put family first.

“It’s been a wonderful blended family,” she said. “Everyone thoroughly enjoys seeing each other and being together.”

His daughter, Kit Farnsworth of South Royalton, Vt., reminisced about their early years taking “mandatory” family vacations.

“He always felt like it was a good investment for our family,” Farnsworth said. “We’re all very close and check in almost daily with each other.”

Her twin sister, Liz Dauten of Northfield, Il., echoed her sentiments.

“He was a wonderful man,” Dauten said. “I really looked up to him. He was a great father. You couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Dr. Deming and his wife lived in Cape Elizabeth, but spent the past 17 winters at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla. He had a passion for golf and taught his wife to play. He was a longtime member of the Portland Country Club. His wife said they played together and participated in golf tournaments along the East Coast.

“I didn’t know this would be our life … that we would move to a golf community,” his wife said. “I had no idea that I would end up very happy in a golf community. We loved playing golf together and we loved our Red Sox and Patriots.”

His wife chuckled, noting the first draft of his obituary included the names Tom Brady and Big Papi. They were later taken out.

Dr. Deming also had a passion for the outdoors and enjoyed going birding with his daughter Laura.

In January 2010, he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.

“He faced his illness with optimism, grace and dignity. He was very grateful for his life,” his wife said.

 

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at mcreamer@pressherald.com