John Dossett

John H. Dossett

Thursday, July 21st, 1938 - Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
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John H. Dossett 8/1/2020
John Hamilton Dossett, 82, died peacefully July 29, 2020, on the farm as was his wish, with his wife Darlene by his side. He was born on July 21, 1938, in Whistler, AL, and was the son of William and Ella Mae Dossett.

Dr. Dossett was a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He was a pioneer infectious disease specialist and a pediatrician who worked at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine for 47 years. His career began there in 1971 and included decades-long work in diseases ranging from scarlet fever to AIDS. In the late 1980s, he established the first pediatric HIV clinic in the region during the emergence of the disease. He also represented the College of Medicine as a visiting professor internationally. As a caring clinician, he would occasionally harness a carriage pony to his antique doctor’s buggy and make a neighborhood house call to a sick child.

In addition to his wife, John is survived by sons John Dossett (Stephanie) of Portland, OR; William Dossett (Zoe) of Minneapolis; James Dossett (Lori) of Philadelphia; and daughter Laurelyn Dossett (Scott) of Westfield, NC; stepchildren Miranda Resnick of Hardwick, VT, and Ivan Resnick of Palmyra, PA; grandchildren Emilia, Rosalie, Sophie, Sydney, Samantha, Asa, and Cyrus; brother Lynn Dossett of Mobile, AL, and sisters Ellen Dossett (Ann) and Rebecca Dossett, both of Birmingham, AL.

John and Darlene’s farm was a sanctuary for them. A patient, self taught woodworker, John loved furnishing the farmhouse and building onto it. He also had a sixth sense for adventure that occasionally led to misadventure. Once, a large, wild beehive was found in a neighbor’s barn. Off John went with a smoker to calm the worker and guard bees in a new, untested beekeeper’s suit. Outraged guard bees followed the pickup home in pursuit of their colony and honey.

On another occasion, he went on an impulsive solo kayak search in the snake-infested waters of Alabama’s Chickasabogue Creek. He was hoping to spot the possibly extinct ivory-billed woodpecker (also known as the “Lord God bird”). John was certain he had seen it 60 years earlier, and ornithologists were believed to have spotted it again. But the river had changed over the years and so had John. When the helicopter couldn’t locate him by midnight, the local folks tracked him down. Returning home shaken, but resolute, he soon tracked one down in the Reading Museum, where it had been stuffed away for half a century.

As a man of ever expanding and deepening personal faith, John Dossett was tolerant, confident, and curious. He honored death’s mysteries as they approached.

In memory of Dr. Dossett, should you desire, feel free to make a contribution to a nonprofit organization of your choice. Perhaps:
• Lebanon County Conservation District. If designated by you, world class farmland can be protected from development in perpetuity. Six cents saves one square foot of land.
• Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, who gave of themselves without measure.
• The Pediatric Division of Infectious Diseases (including Covid 19 in children), Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. A specific area can be designated as a recipient:

A private memorial service at this time of pandemic will be held at a later date.
The family wants you to know the farm is in full bloom and they are already surrounded by the gift of flowers.
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Sylvia Houser

Posted at 10:51am
Dr. Dossett was our pediatiician when we moved here in the '70's. I remember him from the early days of Hershey Free Church.
Sylvia Houser

A. Overbach, MD

Posted at 04:32pm
Dr. Dossett was very influential in my life when he was a pediatric intern at University of Minnesota Hospital. I was a medical student just starting to be interested in pediatrics. He influenced me to travel out of state to his home state of Alabama for a pediatric elective. That trip changed my life. I am now a retired pediatrician, having completed all my pediatric training in Alabama and having lived and practiced in Alabama ever after being graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School. I remember Dr Dossett with fondness and gratitude.
A. M. Overbach, MD

Robert Hamilton

Posted at 04:41pm
John and I were very early colleagues together at Hershey Medical Center. In fact, I interviewed John and really encouraged him to take that position in Pediatrics in 1971. We have been friends over the years, and I have always respected and looked up to John. I admired all of his accomplishments and hobbies. What a great guy!, Our sympathy and prayers are with Darlene and the entire family. He will be missed!
Bob and Kathy Hamilton

Cherie menzel

Posted at 12:31am
In the early 70's, our son Brett had a hole in his lung. Lebanon Good Samaritan hospital did not know what to do. Our son was sent by ambulance to the Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Dossett saved our sons life. We thanked him then and have never forgotten. He was a wonderful doctor. Our son was about 2 then, he is 51 now(with 2 children). Thank you Dr. Dossett.

Brian Reeves

Posted at 05:13pm
John was a true gentleman and superb teacher and clinician. I am lucky to have had him as a friend and mentor and will always carry fond memories of our times together. My thoughts and prayers to Darlene and family and the many friends who are also grieving his loss but celebrating his life.

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