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School of Medicine professor Egan, 96, remembered as lifelong learner, dedicated educator and physician

J. Daniel Egan, MDAs an innovator, educator and healer, John Daniel Egan, MD, always kept people at the forefront of his work.

The emeritus professor in the Creighton University School of Medicine, with a career that spanned seven decades, died Sept. 27 after a short illness. He was 96.

Arriving at Creighton in 1954, Egan joined the Department of Internal Medicine and became chief of nephrology at Creighton’s St. Joseph Hospital, later the Creighton University Medical Center.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and U.S. Public Health Service, Egan founded the dialysis program at the Omaha Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the late 1960s and served as chief of nephrology at the VA from 1967 to 1999.

He continued to teach and mentor students at both Creighton and the VA until 2016, when he took emeritus status. In 2012, the School of Medicine recognized Egan with the Dialysis Clinic, Inc.-J. Dan Egan, MD, Endowed Chair in Nephrology. The DCI-Egan Chair supports teaching and research at the School of Medicine to benefit patients with kidney disease.

While at Creighton, Egan earned just about every teaching award offered by the University and some at the state and national level. He was a Golden Apple honoree (voted on by School of Medicine students), earned the Distinguished Professor Award and the Dedicated Teacher Award. He received the Creighton Distinguished Faculty Award in 1988.

In 2005, Egan was recognized with the Dedicated Teacher Award from the Nebraska Chapter of the American College of Physicians with this citation: “Dr. Egan has had a tremendous impact on the lives and education of literally thousands of medical students and residents spanning generations of physicians. His constant quest for new medical knowledge, his consummate skills as a clinician, his attention to detail, and his wry, often self-effacing sense of humor have helped him become the esteemed teacher he is today. His highly effective and tireless educational efforts have fostered a legacy of excellence and professionalism in medicine.”

Egan was a lifelong learner and took an active role in the lives of his students.

At the time of the announcement of Egan’s endowed chair, Robert “Bo” Dunlay, MD’81, dean of the School of Medicine, noted Egan continued to read each new edition of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine from cover to cover and hosted regular conversations about what was found in Harrison’s, as well as a weekly journal club for faculty, house officers and students.

“Every day throughout his career he demonstrated what it means to be a ‘Creighton physician’ in his dedication to excellent patient care and selfless service to others,” Dunlay said. “He will be remembered by generations of medical students and residents for his Harrison’s Club as well as the Monday night journal club.”

Before coming to Creighton, Egan served as a medical corpsman during World War II and the Korean War, and earned his medical degree from the University of Buffalo in New York, completing his internship at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston.

Egan is survived by his wife, Marjorie, four sons, two daughters, nine grandchildren and two brothers.

The Egan family will receive friends Monday, Oct. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m., at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 3122 S. 74th St., in Omaha, followed by a 7 p.m. vigil service. Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 10 a.m., at St. Joan of Arc, with interment at Calvary Cemetery, with military honors. Memorials are suggested to Creighton or the VA Medical Center.

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