ANCHORAGE, Ala. - Dr. David M. Dietz died April 10, 2013 in Anchorage, Ala., of pancreatic cancer after a brave and patient journey, living each day with grace for 15 months since his diagnosis, treasuring each moment. Dr. Dietz was born April 28, 1933, in Rochester, N.Y.
Dr. Dietz worked as a trauma surgeon at Eastern Maine Medical Center in 2003 with his daughter, Joan Pellegrini, MD. During his time in Bangor he touched many lives, both patients and staff and forever after held fond memories of his time in Maine. He graduated from Aquinas High School, the University of Rochester, and the University of Rochester Medical School. He completed his residency in general, thoracic and vascular surgery at Stanford University, California. After his internship and two years of his surgical residency, Dr. Dietz interrupted his training to enlist as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force
. He spent two years stationed at Itazuke Air Base, Japan. It was there that he met his future wife, Nan, who was an U.S. Air Force nurse. They were married in 1964 in Port Orford, Ore. After their wedding, they lived in Menlo Park, Calif., while Dr. Dietz finished his residency at Stanford. Their first two daughters were born at Stanford. A third daughter and a son were born in Anchorage, Ala. In 1967 Dr. Dietz packed his family into a camper trailer for the move to Alaska. He began his surgical career at the Doctor's Clinic, Anchorage, Ala., and then in 1978 went into private practice. He had a very full and busy practice and was known in the community as a pioneering surgeon, always continuing his education and finding new and improved techniques for treating surgical patients. He retired from his medical practice in 1998 then came out of retirement five years later to work at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Dr. Dietz's personal life was every bit as important to him as his professional life. He especially enjoyed being outdoors, enjoying all the activities Alaska offers. If he wasn't hunting, flying, or fishing in Alaska, he was skiing in Colorado and Montana. His favorite place was a small cabin he built in Lake Clark, Ala. Dr. Dietz passed on his love of the outdoors to his children, teaching them to hunt and fish and he had them on skis barely after they began walking. Always practical minded, Dr. Dietz sent each child off to college armed with a well-stocked tool box, but he also had a softer side. Dr. Dietz was an avid music lover. From classical to John Denver, Gregorian chant to Celine Dion, he enjoyed his music to the end. Dr. Dietz was a life long Roman Catholic and had been an active member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Anchorage, Ala., since 1968. He lived his faith daily and with dignity.
Dr. Dietz is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nan; daughter, Joan Pellegrini, MD; daughter, Susie Dietz, MD; son, Capt. Michael Dietz; granddaughters, Adriana, Amelia, Olivia, Grace, Audrey and Madison; grandson, Owen; sister, Sheila O'Brien; brother, Jack Dietz; son-in-law, Tony Pellegrini; and daughter-in-law, Michelle Dietz. He was predeceased by his parents; brother, Bill Dietz; and daughter, Mary Louise Dietz.
Services for Dr. Dietz will take place in Anchorage.