AHF Mourns Passing of Former Association President Paul B. Deignan

By Leah Reily posted 16 days ago


On Sunday, May 23, 2021, former ASHFSA (American Society for Healthcare Food Service Administrators) and HFM (Healthcare Foodservice Management) president Paul Deignan passed away. Paul B. Deignan, MPS, RD, DHCFA, 81, of Gettysburg, PA., died Sunday morning May 23, 2021 at his home. Born February 6, 1940 in Orange, NJ, he was the son of the late Joseph M. and Catherine T. (Driscoll) Deignan. He was the loving husband of Mary E. (Davis) Deignan to whom he was married for 58 years. In addition to his wife, Paul is survived by his four children, five grandchildren, a great grandchild and two siblings.

Paul was a lifelong supporter of the industry having been a part of both of AHF’s legacy associations, which merged in 2009. He worked as a healthcare nutrition service manager for 43 years and earned multiple industry awards and industry-wide recognition of his leadership skills.

A beloved mentor to many of AHF’s leaders and members, Paul served as the president of ASHFSA in 1984 and president of HFM in 1998. Paul was one of only a few leaders who served as leaders of both of AHF’s legacy associations. He continued to support AHF members once the two organizations came together, and in his retirement, he volunteered as a food evaluator for the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Many in the hospitality industry and myriad organizations Paul Deignan participated in remember him as an enthusiastic, forward-thinking leader, a respected model of professionalism and a generous, insightful mentor.

In 1987 Paul was honored with the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Silver Plate award in Healthcare. Paul also won the Ivy Award from Restaurants & Institutions magazine and was recognized as one of the top 50 people by R&I to have influenced their industry. He was also awarded the ASHFSA Jacques Bloch Award and HFM Angelo Gagliano Award.

Paul was a mentor to many and a quintessential leader who was always a step or 10 in front of the trends and innovations.* He cared deeply for the healthcare associations, his profession and all the people he met. He wanted others to be as successful as they could be, so he offered endless hours to support their ambitions and problem-solving. The industry and, of course, his family and friends, will miss him and remember him always.

AHF honors Paul’s many years of service, contributions, and expertise. He will be missed by the community and his AHF family.

More detailed information about Paul and his contributions to the industry can be found HERE.

*Contributors to this memorial are Mary Deignan, wife of Paul Deignan; lifelong friends Donna Boss, editor and communications consultant, as well as retired foodservice directors and industry award winners Jerry Berkman, Marge Beasley, Mary Spicer and Mary Keysor. Beasley was president of ASHFSA and HFM; Spicer was president of ASHFSA, HFM and AHF, and Keysor was president of AHF.