John C. Devlin distinguished doctor dies at 86.
Dr. John Clarke Devlin, who was instrumental in promoting important medical theories, died at home on Oct. 13, 2016 at the age of 86. He was born in Belfast, Ireland on Feb. 21, 1930 and emigrated to America in 1957.
During World War II, he lived in Birmingham, England, where his father worked as a physician. He remembered living through bomb raids and walking five miles to school with his books, football shoes, violin and gas mask. At age 16, the family moved back to Bray, Ireland and it was his dying Mother’s wish for the children to return to their homeland.
He graduated in 1954 from University College Dublin and did a residency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, specializing in internal medicine. During his 40 year-career, he served as Medical Director for Commonwealth Life, Mutual Benefit and New York Life. He had a keen interest in medical research and kept up to date by attending courses at various universities. For instance, in 1977, he attended a month-long symposium in advanced rheumatology at New York University Post-Graduate Medical School. Even after retirement, he continued to read the latest medical publications like JAMA and the British Medical Journal. He disagreed with a lot of conventional medical beliefs and tried to educate whoever would listen about the cholesterol theory or the low-salt diet calling it hogwash. “I can die happy when I know the whole world knows trans fats are bad,” he remarked. A couple of years ago, he was delighted when Time Magazine’s front page denounced Ansel Keys’ low-fat theories that many adopted since Time originally promoted the idea in the 60s.
Despite his keen interest in the medical world, his true love was golf and he often won club championships at the various country clubs he belonged to during his life. If he could not make it to the driving range, he practiced putting in the living room and chipping in the backyard. In his teens, he would practice his golf swing in the mirror and would ask family members if his club face was open or closed at the top of the swing. He also loved the game of tennis and competed in local doubles leagues at Brooklake Country Club. A lifelong golfer, he had to give it up at age 82 due to back pain from arthritis. At that point, he took up lap swimming, joining the Equinox because of the salt water pool, rarely missing a day in the last four years.
Dr. Devlin returned often to his homeland visiting friends and family, especially his daughter Ann who lives there. He never got a chance to do much travel in continental Europe, but did make it to France and Turkey. He loved spending time with his grandchildren including trips to Ireland with Declan and Florida with Ronan.
He is survived by his son Conor, daughters Iseult and Ann and five grandchildren—Declan, Rory, Maeve, Ronan and Liam. In Ireland, he is survived by his siblings Frank, Esther DeGroot, Eileen O’Dwyer, David and Judith. Dr. Devlin was predeceased by his wife, Deirdre, who was very active in New Jersey’s bridge community. He was also predeceased by his son, Rory, and his granddaughter Maura.
Visitation will be on Sunday, October 16, 2016 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main Street, Chatham, NJ 07928. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 17, 2016 at Corpus Christi Church, 234 Southern Blvd, Chatham, NJ. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John’s memory to Imagine, A Center for Coping for Loss, 1 E. Broad Street, Westfield, NJ 07090.Cremation will be private.