A physician who helped start a mobile medical clinic for the poor and homeless has died.
Dr. Daniel H. Dietrich died Thursday at the Omaha home he shared with his wife, Lynda. He had cancer, she said, and died a day before his 67th birthday.
In 1988, Dan Dietrich helped start the Hopemobile, an 18-foot motor home that took medical care to area homeless shelters. It was an outgrowth of Project Hope, a food and clothing pantry that first operated out of the basement of Hope Lutheran Church in north Omaha.
The Rev. James McDaniels, Hope Lutheran's former pastor, said Dietrich helped recruit the health professionals who provided the free care on the Hopemobile.
“He was a positive, Christian, loving contributor who helped make a difference in any way he could,” said McDaniels, who now lives in North Carolina.
Dietrich worked with the late James Cross to start the mobile service. Project Hope later provided medical care through the Hope Medical Outreach Coalition.
The Rev. Roland Jank of Omaha, who served on Project Hope's board of directors, said Dietrich “had an infectious laugh.”
Dietrich co-founded an Omaha family practice and worked for Alegent Health and Methodist Hospital.
He retired at the end of 2010 after 20 years as medical director for Quality Living Inc. of Omaha, his wife said.
The Nebraska Medical Association named him Physician of the Year in 2001.
He was a volunteer faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He also was a licensed private pilot.
The Lincoln-born Dan Dietrich grew up in Wilber, Neb., and graduated from Wilber High School. He graduated in 1969 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and in 1973 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Besides his wife of 24 years, survivors include son Brian Dietrich of Omaha.
Private interment will precede Dietrich's 1 p.m. Monday memorial service at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 61st Street and Western Avenue.
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