William J. Dean Jr., MD, FAAFP, Holyoke native, son of the late William J. Dean Sr. and Mary Fitzsimmons Dean, and beloved husband of Jean (Chapdelaine) Dean passed away peacefully at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke on Thursday, January 9, 2020.
Dr. Bill Dean, a Holyoke native, was born on May 7, 1933. He attended Holyoke Public Schools graduating from Holyoke High School in 1951 where he received varsity letters in soccer, basketball and track. During high school, he also played basketball for the Holyoke YMCA and was a member of the Holyoke YMCA Massachusetts/Rhode Island Championship basketball team in 1950-51. He was also active in the Boy Scouts of America, attaining the rank of Life Scout, earning membership in the Order of the Arrow as well as serving as a camp counselor and Assistant Scout Master of Troop 3 in Holyoke.
Bill received his BA in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, Newman Club, Varsity M Club and Air Force ROTC. He was a 4-year varsity soccer player and is remembered for his speed and agility in leading his varsity team to victory over University of Connecticut in 1954 by scoring both the tying and overtime goals.
While in college, Bill met his wife, Jean (Chapdelaine). They were married on May 12, 1956. Immediately following their honeymoon, he proudly served our country in Korea in the United States Air Force 6006th Air Intelligence Service Squadron (1956-1957), honorably discharged as a Lieutenant from the USAF Air Intelligence Service in 1958 and as a Captain from the Air Force Reserve in 1962.
Upon discharge from the USAF Air Intelligence Service, Bill attended graduate school at UMass. By sheer serendipity, the coach of the varsity soccer team, Larry Briggs, needed a coach for the Freshman team. The coach heard that Bill was back at the university, offered him the job and Bill gladly accepted. During his years at the university, he worked part-time as a social worker for the Welfare Department of the City of Holyoke, in the Quality Control Department at Plastic Coating and as an Administrative Assistant to Silvio O. Conte, Republican Member of Congress, First Congressional District of Massachusetts.
Dr. Dean received his medical degree from New York Medical College in 1964 and was a member of the Alpha Kappa Kappa Medical Fraternity. He completed his internship at Springfield Hospital Medical Center in 1965, now known as Baystate Medical Center. He was a Board-Certified Family Physician and Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, member of the Hampden District Medical Society, Massachusetts Medical Society and Life Member of the Massachusetts Medical Benevolent Society. In 1965, he opened his private practice, Greater Holyoke Medical Associates, Inc.
Dr. Dean was a medical consultant for the Holyoke Welfare Department and medical advisor for the Western Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. He served as Assistant Chief and later Chief of Medicine at Providence Hospital and Assistant Chief of Medicine at Holyoke Hospital. In 1972, he was appointed by Governor Francis Sargent as Medical Examiner of the 3rd Hampden District and served in this capacity for 32 years. He was elected Regional Director of the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians in 1988.
An excellent diagnostician, Dr. Dean’s expertise was well-suited to the complicated practice of geriatric medicine. He enjoyed and was devoted to his elderly patients serving as medical director for several area nursing homes and was seated on many of their medical advisory boards. He especially enjoyed his work with the veterans and staff at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home where he worked for 33 years.
Dr. Dean vaccinated many students as a school physician for the Holyoke Public School system and served as one of the staff doctors at Holyoke Community College. In 1977, Holyoke Community College awarded an honorary degree to Dr. Dean for distinguished service.
A tireless worker and an enthusiastic and energetic giver of his time and talents, Dr. Dean was one of the founding physicians of Model Cities Health Center when it opened at Barrett’s Drug Store in Holyoke’s Ward I in 1969. He joyfully volunteered many hours over many years to the center. One could usually find him at Model Cities on Wednesday mornings serving those members of our community in need of medical care. He also enjoyed volunteering his time as medical doctor for the Holyoke Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Greater Holyoke Golden Gloves Boxing Tournaments.
Dr. Dean was a humble man who loved his family, friends and patients. He enjoyed spending time skiing at Mt. Tom or relaxing at his home on Cape Cod with his family and friends. He found the time to not only drive his children to school (which allowed him time to impart his words of wisdom), but he attended and supported their school and athletic events. He was especially proud when his son, William (RIP), followed in his footsteps and graduated from New York Medical College in 1988. He was non-judgmental and easily made friends with people from all walks of life. He was very proud of his Catholic faith and Irish heritage. He served as a Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady of the Cross, the former Holy Cross Parish, and was a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Dr. Dean was a life-time member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the John Boyle O’Reilly Club and the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, Inc.
As a member of the St. Patrick’s Committee, Dr. Dean was actively involved in several committees and worked behind the scenes at many functions. He held the St. Patrick’s Committee and its’ members close to his heart as he loved the camaraderie and friendships that he made through this affiliation. He joined the committee the year after his father, the late William J. Dean, Sr., was honored as the 1968 Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In 1973, Dr. Dean and his wife, Jean, made arrangements for the “Irish Tradition” a group of musicians from the University of Galway to travel to Holyoke and stay at their home. The band played at all of the Parade Committee events for the two-week period leading up to the parade. During that time, Dr. Dean, together with his life-long friend, Larry Chesky (RIP), helped the young musicians cut their first record album at Larry’s recording studio. Bill and Jean’s hospitality extended to welcoming into their home Irish musicians, Pat Roper and Tommy Doyle, as well as out of town St. Patrick’s Road Race runners, including Road Race winner (and 4 times winner of the Boston and New York marathons) Bill Rodgers and his wife. Dr. Dean founded the Cardinal Cushing Scholarship Fund (administered by the St. Patrick’s Committee) named after the beloved Cardinal of Boston to raise money to help qualified local students attend college. For years, he was one of the doctors for the Road Race participants and marched alongside the parade as the “Doc” ready to administer medical aid when needed. In 1977, he was honored by the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, Inc when he was awarded the prestigious “Rohan Award” for his dedicated service.
Dr. Dean and his brothers, Dr. Philip and Reverend John, founded the Mary Fitzsimmons and William J. Dean Scholarship Fund named after their late parents. William J. Dean, Sr. was the director for 44 years of Holyoke Trade School, later known as Holyoke Trade High School and, in 1985, re-named Dean Vocational Technical High School and in 2018, Holyoke High School Dean Campus.
Dr. Dean was predeceased by his parents, William and Mary Dean; brother, Dr. Philip Dean; brother, Reverend John Dean; son, Dr. William J Dean III and infant son, Joseph. He will be greatly missed by his beloved wife of 63 years, Jean (Chapdelaine), children and nine grandchildren: Atty. Patricia Hall (Rocky) and children Erin, Connor and Shane of Ventura, California; daughter-in-law Sheila Dean and children Cailee, Ryan and Brody of Southampton; Paul (Dr. Susan Kelly) of Jamestown, Rhode Island; Julie Olsson (Bengt) and children Cecilia, Erik and Patrik of Sandviken, Sweden; brother-in-law, William Chapdelaine; sisters-in-law, Lorraine Arny, Marie Gaudrault, and Dolores Dowd Dean and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family of Dr. Bill Dean is deeply grateful to the staff on 4 West at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke for the dedicated care, love and compassion provided to him over the past three years.
The funeral will be held on January 17 under the direction of Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street. The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Our Lady of the Cross will begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by Committal with Military Honors at 1:00 p.m. in the Chapel of the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main Street, Agawam. There will be no calling hours.
In memoriam donations may be made to the William J. Dean and Mary Fitzsimmons Dean Scholarship Fund, c/o Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, 333 Bridge Street, Springfield, MA 01103 or to the Cardinal Cushing Scholarship Fund, c/o St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, Inc., Post Office Box 871, Holyoke, MA 01041.
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