Dean History: Dr. James “J.L.” Dean- Dean - WI

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Dean Medical Group's History

A Tour Through The Decades

Dean History: Dr. James “J.L.” Dean

Dr. James “J.L.” Dean: Kind, Gentle and Thoughtful

Dr. Louis Bernhardt described obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. James L. Dean as being especially gentle with his women patients. “He was kind, gentle, thoughtful, soft-spoken and sensitive.” Several of his colleagues commented how much they enjoyed working with him. “He was just a remarkable and pleasant gentleman to be around,” said Dr. Connie Andringa.

Bound for the Navy

James (“J.L.”) Dean, the son of the Dr. James P. and Maud Lea Dean, was born in Madison in 1916. James attended the Annapolis Naval Academy and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1943. From 1943 until 1947, he served aboard the destroyer S.S. Rooks as a lieutenant in the medical corps of the U.S. Navy. His father had tried to persuade J.L. not to go into the medical field, but after finishing at the Naval Academy, the young man later said he knew he would get more “personal fulfillment from medicine than from riding a ship.”

Bound to be a doctor

Dr. Dean practiced obstetrics and gynecology at Dean Clinic from 1947 until January 1, 1979. During his career, he also was chairman of the OB-GYN Department at St. Mary’s Hospital, a clinical instructor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and a founding fellow and life member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

When he retired from Dean Clinic, he and his wife, Ruth, relocated to Sturgeon Bay, where Dr. Dean continued to practice at the Door County Medical Center until 1982.

After his retirement, he recalled how Dean Clinic had grown, going from just eight doctors when he started in 1947 to 55 physicians plus another 250 employees. When he left Dean Clinic, he was the last of the “Doctors Dean” to practice medicine there.

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