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Published: Friday, 1/25/2013

Dr. John A. “Jack” Devany, 1929-2013: Kindhearted doctor revered as mentor

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dr. John Devany. Dr. John Devany.
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Dr. John A. “Jack” Devany, who opened his medical office on Sundays to treat patients with sore throats and earaches, died Wednesday in his Sylvania Township home. He was 83.

The cause of death was not known, and he appeared to have died in his sleep, his son, John, said. He had a longstanding heart condition and diabetes, and he’d recovered after a serious car crash in 2006, his son said.

Dr. Devany had just returned from the funeral Tuesday in Kent, Ohio, of his sister Kathleen Mosher, at which he spoke.

“We were all together at the funeral and reception. He said good-bye to everyone,” his son said. “If you were trying to plan an exit, you couldn't have planned better.”

Dr. Devany was an otolaryngologist — an ear, nose, throat doctor — in practice for many years with Dr. A. James Blanchard, Dr. Carlisle Parker, Jr., and Dr. William Willis.

His father was a family physician and treated patients in their homes. And so Dr. Devany didn’t hesitate to travel through a blizzard to the hospital because his children’s friends were there, in pain from an ear or throat ailments. After church on Sundays, he stopped by his office to see patients whose discomfort didn’t keep regular hours.

“He was the kindest man I ever met in my life,” said his daughter, Maureen, who is a nurse. “He was kind to nurses, and people loved working with him. He treated people like he wanted to be treated.”

He was a mentor to physicians in residency. He was a past president of the Ohio State Medical Association and of the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County.

He was a Democrat and was a supporter of U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo). In the early 1990s, he offered his expertise to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in her health-care reform efforts.

“He had a strong sense of community and always took part both in politics and in the needs of the parish,” his son said. Dr. Devany was a longtime member of Gesu Church.

He continued to be a delegate to the state medical association even in retirement. In 2003, the Academy presented him with a lifetime achievement award.

He was born March 5, 1929, in Akron to Beatrice and Dr. Andrew Devany. He was a 1947 graduate of St. Vincent High School in Akron, and in 2009 received the Father Thomas F. Mahar Outstanding Alumni Award.

Dr. Devany was a graduate of the University of Akron and of the Ohio State University medical school. He was married with young children and joined the Air Force as a flight surgeon, during which the family moved to Maine, Texas, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Dr. Devany was a gardener whose variation on a traditional English garden was “more uniform and less unruly,” his son said. “He loved to raise roses. He had a real flair for raising shamrocks.”

Favorite pastimes involved getting together with others, from his retired doctor friends to those he met decades ago in the Christian family group at Gesu parish, when they were young parents.

He and his wife, Jeanne, married Sept. 5, 1953. She died Oct. 14, 1986.

Surviving are his daughters, Jeanne Cummings, Maureen Devany, and Anne Parsons; sons, John and Michael Devany, and two granddaughters.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in the Walker Funeral Home. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Gesu Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Oregon.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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