John W. Deering, 85: Talented businessman loved family, Maine, Colby

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FALMOUTH — John “Jack” William Deering, 85, died Jan. 11 at Mercy Hospital after a brief illness, surrounded by his family and close friends.

He was the elder son of John and Eleanor Trefethen Deering, of Portland, and grew up in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

He excelled in football, basketball and baseball at South Portland High School and later at Governor Dummer Academy. There, he was captain of the baseball team and elected president of the class of 1947. In 1997, his 50th reunion, he returned as baccalaureate speaker and received the Alumnus of the Year Award.

Deering attended Colby College, where he played on the baseball and basketball teams and was president of the Zeta Psi fraternity. In his junior year, he matriculated briefly at Southern Methodist University in Texas, but then returned to Maine.

He then began work as a truck driver for King Cole Potato Chips, and joined the Maine National Guard. In 1951, however, his unit was activated and he was deployed to north Africa to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

In 1953, after his military service, Deering returned to Colby. There, he met the woman who would become his wife of almost 60 years, Ann Burnham, of Wellesley, Massachusetts. The couple graduated together and married in June 1955.

Deering began his career in the investment business in Boston, but again returned to Maine and honed his sales skills at various investment firms. With Carl Barker, he formed Barker Deering Associates, which was acquired by Paine Webber in 1981. The partners’ financial planning model and their contrasting talents contributed to over 30 years of success.

Deering loved doing business in his native city of Portland. He was at his best while walking down Congress Street, shaking hands with people he knew and introducing himself to those he did not. He was a master of networking and connecting people.

“Call me Jack,” was his constant introduction, and he developed a quick rapport with those who met him.

Deering was a proud “Mainer” and a devoted Colby alumnus who never missed an opportunity to promote the college. “Colby Jack” particularly enjoyed being with friends and students at sports events where Colby was beating Bowdoin.

He also cherished time with his family, whether taking trips through Maine Audubon, skiing or just being in their company.

Deering was predeceased by his parents; his brother, Robinson; and his sister, Tref.

He is survived by his wife, of Falmouth; daughter, Janet Deering Bruen and husband, Phil Bruen, of Falmouth; daughter, Ellen Deering, of Portland; son, Richard B. Deering, of South Portland; and four granddaughters, Elizabeth, Suzanne, Mary and Maggie Bruen.

The Deering family thanks the staff of Bay Square, Yarmouth, for their care.

At Jack’s request, there will be no visiting hours or service. A reception in his honor will be held at a later date at the Portland Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Colby College, Attn: Jack Deering Maine Scholarship Fund, 4335 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901, or online at colby.edu/memorial gift. Contributions may also be made to The Governor’s Academy, 1 Elm St., Byfield, MA 01922, c/o The Governor’s Fund, or online at thegovernorsacademy.org/giving.

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