John J. "Jack"
Published in The Republican
from April 27 to April 28, 2010
J. Dineen, Jr., of East Long-meadow, passed away with his loving family
present, on Sunday, April 25, in East Long-meadow. Born in Spring-field,
the son of the late John J., Sr., and Elizabeth (O'Connor) Dineen, he
resided in East Longmeadow for the past 56 years. Jack was the beloved
husband of 61 years to Dorothy M. (McNabb) Dineen.
Jack Dineen grew up as one of the two children of Johnny and Lizzie Dineen
on Hungry Hill in Springfield.
He spent his formative years as a student at Our Lady of Hope Grammar
School. He was a modest boy who grew up to be a humble man. Jack never
even tried out for a sport at Cathedral High School because, as he said,
"I assumed I wasn't good enough to make a team."
Coach Billy Wise spotted his talent however, and drafted him as a baseball
pitcher and as an end in football in the T-formation. Jack had never even
held a basketball in his hands, but because of his height and talent,
he was also drafted as a center for the basketball team.
He ended his high school sports career earning All-Western-Mass Honors
in both baseball and basketball, and Honorable Mention in football. Jack
described Billy Wise as a wonderful teacher, coach, and a great man. Even
when Jack was a sophomore, the Springfield Republican was writing about
him: "Sophomore Hurler Tames Tigers- this big lad with a good curve
appeared calm at all times despite his youth." Later, the paper nicknamed
him "Tall John" Dineen. Cathedral High School won the 1944 City
Championship with "Tall John" as the winning pitcher.
Jack was also a well-rounded student and class officer, fitting in music
between all of his school activities. He proudly played harmonica in the
In the summer of 1944, after graduating from Cathedral, Jack spent a week
in Boston at Fenway Park with the Red Sox. At Fenway he pitched an exhibition
game and won 3-1. The Red Sox offered him a scholarship to Holy Cross
College, but he turned it down, electing instead to play minor league
ball for the Red Sox as a pitcher.
From 1945-1947 he served in the United States Navy in the Pacific as a
Quartermaster, and then rejoined the Red Sox organization. In 1949 he
married Dorothy McNabb, his high school sweetheart.
Knowing the value of a college education, Jack left the Red Sox and headed
for Bentley College, where he earned an Associate's degree in Accounting
For the next 28 years, Jack put his accounting degree to good use, first
as an insurance agent for Mass. Mutual and John Hancock, and from 1968-1978
running the Business Department of Mercy Hospital.
In 1979, Jack took a different career path and was employed for many years
at the Hampden County House of Correction as a G.E.D. instructor and inmate
Community spirit and contribution was always an important component in
Jack Dineen's life. He was a member of the Springfield Elks, the American
Legion Post 430, the Knights of Columbus, the John Boyle O'Reily Club,
the St. Michael's Parish Men's Club, the Cursillo retreat group, the Springfield
Police Department Golf League, and the Hampden County Sheriff's Golf League.
In November, 2003 he was inducted into the Cathedral High School Sports
Hall of Fame. Jack loved sports. He continued to play basketball and baseball
in several local leagues throughout his adulthood. He loved to spend time
with his family.
He is survived by his loving wife Dorothy, his son Sean J. Dineen, and
his daughter Attorney Elizabeth G. Dineen and her husband, Assistant District
Attorney Stephen E. Spelman, of East Longmeadow.
He is also survived by his sister, Mary Scanlon of East Longmeadow, and
by his six grandchildren: Jack Biscoe of Agawam, Michael Renkawitz of
East Longmeadow, Anthony and Michael Dineen of Nashua, NH, and Grace and
Julia Spelman, of East Longmeadow, as well as by his beloved cousins,
Ann Reilly, Kay Grimes, Thomas Dineen, Patricia Burke, and Ann Healy.
Jack's funeral will be held on Thursday, April 29, at 8:30 a.m. from Forastiere
Smith Funeral Home, 220 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, followed by a Liturgy
of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Springfield.
Burial with military honors will be held at the Massachusetts Veterans'
Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. Calling hours will be held on Wednesday from
3-7 p.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jack Dineen's memory may be made to Cathedral
High School, 260 Surrey Rd., Springfield, MA 01118.