Dr. Joseph Dean’s Childhood:
Developing His Work Ethic
Joseph Dean Jr., the third child of Joseph Dean Sr. and Mary Ann Donovan, was born in Madison on March 29, 1878. He was raised in a house at 503 West Doty Street in the area commonly referred to as the “bloody fourth war” because of the frequency of fighting in the neighborhood. Joe indeed had many fights, but according to his younger brother, Bill, “Joe was not very large, but he was tough. None of the kids could push him around, and he could really fight.”
Joe began working when he was in elementary school, delivering the morning newspaper, the Madison Democrat. He continued delivering the newspaper throughout high school and while attending the university. He was often accompanied by his dog, “Cap,” who he described as “a mangy, flea-bitten water spaniel” who followed him everywhere. Always punctual in his deliveries, one of his customers, U.S. Senator G. Spooner, told Joe, “You will become successful someday, young man.”
Joe had a passion for sports at a young age. He was an excellent swimmer, and while attending Madison High School from 1892 to 1896, he played end on the football team and catcher on the baseball team. He was the captain of the Madison High School football team during his senior year and played on its 1896 championship baseball team. During the following two years at the University of Wisconsin, Joe played baseball and on the championship football team in 1897. When he later attended medical school, he occasionally earned extra money by playing baseball for $5 to $10 a game.
Focused on medicine
To earn and save enough money to be able to attend medical school, Joe worked weekends as a motorman (a driver) on a streetcar while he was enrolled at the University of Wisconsin. Despite his hard work, he still lacked enough money for medical school, and at one point decided that he would give up his dream to practice medicine in order to work and help support his family. His oldest brother, George, however, was by then a successful plumber, and he convinced Joe to continue school by giving him a loan to complete his medical training. Joe would later return this favor in kind, both by repaying George and by loaning his younger brother, James, money to attend medical school, too.
More about Dr. Joseph Dean
The Early Days of Dr. Joseph Dean's Medical Practice
House Calls: Traveling to See Patients
Minnie Karstens Dean