Russell Nelson DeJong Jr.
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1945 - 2016
BELGRADE - Russell Nelson DeJong Jr. died at his home in Belgrade on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. He was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1945, to Russell Nelson DeJong, M.D., and Madge Anna (Brook) DeJong.
He attended school in Ann Arbor, and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967. He graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1971. Dr. DeJong interned at Los Angeles County Hospital and was a resident and later a staff member at the University of Washington Medical school, promoting innovative programs to deliver women's health care to the underserved.
He married Janetha Ann Benson in 1973. They moved to Maine in 1981 where Russ began teaching obstetrics and gynecology for the Maine Dartmouth Family Practice Residency Program. He also provided care for women in the outlying areas of Pittsfield and Waterville and was the medical director for the Family Planning Association of Maine. He devoted his energy to providing care and teaching others the importance of high quality care and individualizing health care for women who are underserved by the medical system.
He taught by example and by his quiet strength and presence of mind, helping others to make good decisions and to go out into their communities to provide good care and to teach others to do the same. He worked with the Maine Medical Association on projects concerning quality of care, safety, and justice in medical care. Russ was an exceptionally kind and sensitive physician, a person of great integrity.
Of his many honors, the most recent came from the National Abortion Federation, saying, "Throughout your career you have been committed to reproductive freedom...and to meeting the needs of women from all backgrounds...[living] his convictions with a steely grace, unwavering in his belief that we all deserve safe, respectful care."
The land was special to him. He nurtured orchards and forests, maintained woods trails, enjoyed the lakes, and helped to preserve lands in Maine and support conservation.
His family: partner Janetha Benson, children Sarah and Mark Benson DeJong, sisters Constance Armitage and Mary Obuchowski, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews, are thankful to Russ for being the kind and sensitive relative, friend, and physician that he was.
At his request there will be no formal services, and his friends are encouraged to gather in his memory, and to carry on the work of environmental and conservation causes, to support reproductive rights, and to promote kindness and justice.
Published in Central Maine from Feb. 3 to Feb. 4, 2016