Capt. John T. Dinan Jr., M.D.

SCARBOROUGH – Capt. John T. Dinan Jr., M.D., whose service as a Navy surgeon spanned 41 years, died Sept. 26, 2020 at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough. He was 87 and suffering from the effects of a stroke earlier this year.

Starting his career in the Navy in 1962, Dr. Dinan served mostly aboard aircraft carriers, first on the Saratoga, the JFK and lastly on the nuclear-powered Theodore Roosevelt. The Navy awarded him several commendations and medals including earning his Surface Warfare Officer, SWO, something extraordinary for a medical officer. He retired at 71 from the Navy in 2003 with the rank of captain.

Dr. Dinan was born in Detroit in May of 1933. In 1942, he moved with his parents, John and Zoe (Wollenberg) Dinan, to Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where, with a school friend, he soon became a passionate model airplane builder and muskrat trapper. Bloomfield Hills was then still a small rural town; his high-school graduating class consisted of 27 boys and three girls.

As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, he expanded his outdoor interests with the Dartmouth Outing Club, perhaps at the expense of academic endeavors. He graduated on-time in 1955, however, and went on to medical school at the University of Michigan, following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Dr. R.A.C. Wollenberg. He was secretary of his 1955 Dartmouth Alumni class.

Dr. Dinan began his medical practice in Portland. In those early years he also played semi-professional football for the Portland Seahawks. He eventually continued his medical career on active duty with the Navy. Throughout his life he sought adventure, and among his first naval experiences was an expedition in 1963 to Antarctica aboard an Icebreaker, the USS Glacier. He did several tours in the Persian Gulf during Desert Strike as well participating in several actions including Mogadishu aboard the Pelelui and another harrowing incident aboard the Saratoga, where he saved several sailors while risking his own.

With age, the former trapper turned decoy collector. He was Ducks Unlimited Chairman of Maine and was an advocate for several other conservation efforts. He was a lifelong active outdoorsman and sportsman. He loved sea duck hunting and lobstering aboard the “Eider” on Casco Bay, tuna fishing in Beaufort, N.C. and skiing Tuckerman Ravine, with a special fondness for annual deer hunts at the Dartmouth College Grant.

Dr. Dinan is survived by a daughter, Shannon, sons John III and Michael; three grandchildren, Cameron, Madelyn and Vivian; a brother, Dennis; and a companion, Joni O’Donnell Mahoney. His marriage to Marguerite Guinane ended in divorce.

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