John D. Delahanty ’70, P’10 died on February 16, 2021, in Portland, Maine.
(The following was published by the Portland Press Herald on February 21, 2021)
John David Delahanty, 72, of Cape Elizabeth, passed away suddenly on the morning of February 16th at Maine Medical Center from complications due to a recent cancer diagnosis. His wife of forty-six years, Brenda, and daughters Sarah and Abigail were by his side.
John was born in Lewiston to Justice Thomas E. Delahanty and Jeanne Clifford Delahanty on March 26, 1948, where his love of neighborhood pick-up football grew into a passion for the game. He graduated from Lewiston High School in 1966 where he helped lead the Blue Devils to three State Championships in a row. He not only played tackle but was a top kicker as well. During his sophomore year he set a state record for the most extra points in a season and added to his career record during the next two seasons. He was team captain and selected as an All-State tackle his senior year.
John graduated from Bowdoin College in 1970. He was very active on campus, serving as president of Alpha Kappa Sigma fraternity, a James Bowdoin Award recipient, and gained fame on the Bowdoin gridiron. He set Bowdoin and New England collegiate records for most points for a kicker, most extra points made, and most field goals. Some records stood for over forty years. After his junior and senior years, John was recognized as being the only Division III player on New England Collegiate All-Star teams. He was also the last straight-on kicker to play for Bowdoin. Following his senior year, he received an invitation from the Oakland Raiders of the NFL for a free agent tryout, but had to decline due to his commitment to serve in the Army. John was inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Upon graduation from Bowdoin and completing his ROTC program, John joined the United States Army and served a tour in Vietnam. After his service he married Brenda Blanchard in 1974 at the Bowdoin Chapel. He also joined the U.S. Army Reserve for five years, achieving the rank of captain. John became a field representative within the State of Maine for Senator Edmund S. Muskie. He advised the Senator on issues related to Maine, constituent matters, and oversaw the Senator’s Maine operations. It was also a catalyst for his longtime involvement in politics and state government. Although he never ran for office, he was always operating behind the scenes of many campaigns and referenda issues.
John was a 1978 graduate of Boston College Law School, after which he joined the Pierce Atwood law firm in Portland where he practiced for forty years as a specialist in government relations, administrative law, regulatory law, and aiding many Maine businesses in navigating challenges of State regulations. John was listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Administrative/Regulatory Law and Government Regulations Law. In 2017 he was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Portland for Administrative/Regulatory Law. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Transition Advisory Team to Governor John Baldacci and legal counsel for Governor Baldacci’s campaigns in 2002 and 2006.
After law school, John and Brenda lived in Pine Point for several years where he was a member of the Scarborough Volunteer Fire Department, Engine 4. In 1987 they moved to Cape Elizabeth where they raised their four children.
John continued a close friendship with high school buddies, recently celebrating the LHS Class of 1966 50th reunion, and was heavy into planning their 55th reunion this coming August. John was also active in the Bowdoin College reunion committee and looked forward to his 50th reunion that unfortunately was cancelled due to Covid-19.
John had a great love for his immediate and extended family. He cherished his time with his children and grandkids and was an integral part of family events and reunions. During his free time, he dug into his family roots both online and during multiple trips to Ireland. He relished every minute he spent at the family beach house in Pine Point, and you could often find him doing yard work as an excuse to talk to any neighbor that happened to be walking by.
John is survived by Brenda, his wife of 46 years, and their four children of whom he was immensely proud and happy to tell stories of their exploits and adventures: Benjamin J. Delahanty and his wife, Danielle, of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and John’s two grandsons Ryan Edward (4) and Cole Anderson (2); Sarah J. Delahanty of Dana Point, California; and twins Lucas E. Delahanty of New York City and Abigail A. Delahanty O.D. of Windham, Maine. He is also survived by his two brothers, Justice Thomas E. Delahanty II and his wife, Ruth M. Delahanty, of Falmouth, Kevin Delahanty and his wife, Denise de Diego, of New York City, nephews Patrick T. Delahanty of Milford, Massachusetts, and Michael E. Delahanty of Portland; his mother-in-law, Eunice Blanchard of South Portland; his sister-in-law, Anne Blanchard of South Portland, and a niece, Jessica Andrews of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Additionally, there is a whole clan of Delahantys and Cliffords throughout Maine, Boston and New York City. John was fond of saying “If there’s a Delahanty or Clifford in Maine, there’s a good chance they’re related somehow.” Family ties were a huge part of John’s life.
John was predeceased by his father, mother, and father-in-law, Edward Blanchard.