Obituary: James Newcomer Dill Jr. / Doctor spent his life giving back to patients, family and friends

June 14, 1918 - May 21, 2013

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James Newcomer Dill Jr., an obstetrician gynecologist who practiced in McKeesport for 45 years, was known as a dedicated doctor who was devoted to patients and family.

Dr. Dill died May 21. He was 94.

Known as Jim, Dr. Dill was born in Latrobe, but he lived in McKeesport most of his life. He graduated from the College of William and Mary and attended Temple University Medical School.

He served in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946, working at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and at the United States Naval Hospital.

He did graduate work at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He served again during the Korean War as medical officer aboard a troop transport from 1956 to 1958.

Dr. Dill worked at Mc-Keesport Hospital, where he was popular with his patients, said stepdaughter Frances French McCall of Southern Pines, N.C. They would bake him cakes and cookies for Christmas and continued to do so after his retirement, she said.

He eventually rose to serve as clinical chief and president of the medical staff at the hospital.

Dr. Dill was a confirmed bachelor when he met Jane French McCall on the dance floor at a wedding, his stepdaughter said.

They both shared a passion for dance and were both great dancers, she said, dancing to everything from big band to waltzes.

When the couple married in 1976, the women at the hospital were crushed, Ms. McCall said.

When he retired at age 72, he was still healthy but did not feel he should be doing surgery anymore, Ms. McCall said.

But he continued serving patients by consulting at a free clinic and volunteering at the Pittsburgh Children's Center, an affiliate of Magee-Womens Hospital, as a reading mentor. Mrs. Dill served on the board of directors at the center for many years. Natalie Kaplan, president and founder of Carriage House Children's Center, which manages the children's center, remembers them as a "very, nice caring couple."

Dr. Dill liked to keep busy. He golfed, played tennis and fished. He also loved going to the symphony, Ms. McCall said.

"He enjoyed just about anything and everything," she said.

He and his wife visited Ms. McCall every Christmas, she said. Dr. Dill enjoyed exploring Ms. McCall's farm. "He would hike around the pond and pick up sticks. That is where I knew him best."

He also loved to eat -- "everything from A to Z" (except endangered species) and especially chocolate, Ms. McCall said.

"He loved good food and did a lot of cooking," Ms. McCall noted.

After Mrs. Dill died in 2000, Ms. McCall began coming to Pittsburgh every year to celebrate his birthday, which was on Flag Day.

The first year he invited 30 friends to the party. The next year he invited 50, and in a couple years there were about 100 friends attending his birthday party.

"I asked him, 'How on Earth do you have so many friends when you say they are all dying?' " Ms. McCall said. "He always would respond that he just meets younger friends."

Dr. Dill called his older sister Hallie Jane Dill Tapp, 99, of Bronxville, N.Y., every day, Ms. McCall said.

"She would come to his birthday every year, and he would make her polish silver," Ms. McCall said, laughing. "They were extremely close."

The funeral was Wednesday at the Chapel of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, 5121 Westminster Place, Pittsburgh. Memorial contributions can be made to a charity of one's choice.

obituaries

Claire Aronson: caronson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1964.


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