November 23, 2013

Feature obituary: John Dodge, 46, safety specialist with passion for nature

Dodge of Portland is remembered as caring and industrious.

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

John Dodge, an insurance company safety expert who had a passion for the outdoors, died Monday after suffering a heart attack. He was 46.

Dodge joined Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co., or MEMIC, in 2000 as a consultant on loss control. He rose quickly in the ranks to become a director.

Dodge was a risk management specialist at MEMIC. He had numerous high-profile accounts, including MaineToday Media Inc., parent company of the Portland Press Herald.

Karl Siegfried, assistant vice president of loss control at MEMIC, described Dodge Friday as a dedicated and tireless leader who was highly respected in the industry.

“He was one of the best I’ve had the privilege of working with,” Siegfried said. “He was an amazing person.… John had a driving force inside him to qualify and quantify the safety profession and what safety means to businesses.”

Dodge was remembered by friends and family this week as kind, loving, strong, industrious and physically fit.

“There’s nothing he couldn’t or wouldn’t do,” said Sarah Dodge, his wife of 14 years. “His mission in life was to help everyone he encountered. Whether he was at home, work or the grocery store, he was tuned in and ready to spring into action.”

On Monday, Dodge moved lawn furniture into a shed and positioned the snowblower for easy access. He suffered a heart attack while doing these fall chores. His obituary, which will be published in the Maine Sunday Telegram, said he had an undiagnosed heart condition.

He was scheduled to have shoulder surgery on Tuesday, his wife said.

“He was always thinking ahead and trying to make life easy for all of us,” she said, noting he made a big pot of chili on Sunday. “This week he is feeding us. It’s so good. It’s so spicy.”

Dodge and his wife lived in Portland. On Friday, she spoke about their life together. She said he had always worked hard and planned for the future.

“It’s been the most wonderfully easy relationship,” his wife said. “He brought his thing to the table and I brought my thing to the table and together it was magical. The love and respect we have for each other was the icing on the cake.”

Together, they traveled, bought land and built a cabin near Parker Pond in Chesterville. Dodge was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing.

“He loved nature. We both do,” Sarah Dodge said. “It was our paradise. Everything was right at Parker Pond.”

Dodge and his wife almost finished the interior of the cabin last summer.

She said he inspired her.

“I feel so incredibly blessed to have had this gem of a man as long as I’ve had him,” she said. “He taught me to be the best person I could be and now I need to do that.… I’m dedicating the rest of my life to continuing to make him proud. He is such an inspiration to me still. I can’t put words to how happy that makes me feel and how secure that makes me feel in my core.”

A memorial service will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St. in Portland.

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