John F. Dignam, 78, of Methuen, MA passed away on Sunday March 18, at the Holy Family Hospital, in Methuen.
John was born on July 2, 1933 in Lawrence, MA to George F. and Dorothy H. (Carroll) Dignam. He attended St. Mary’s Grammar School and graduated from Central Catholic High School at the age of 16, in 1950. He attended Tilton Prep School and Holy Cross before he enlisted in The Army in 1953, where he received numerous commendations.
Upon his discharge, he attended Northeastern University, Boston MA and earned a degree in Physics and Applied Science in 1962. He returned to Northeastern many years later, and received a degree from the Executive MBA Program.
John worked at AVCO from 1962-1965, and as a Civil Servant at the Watertown Arsenal from 1966 – 1996. At the time of his retirement, he served as the Chief of the Ballistic Missile Defense Materials Program Office; Physical Science Administrator in the Materials Directorate; and Director of the Hardened Materials Program. He measurably enhanced the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization’s effort to advance the state of the art and provide the best technology available for Missile Defense. His contributions provided a sound foundation for the continued development of advanced materials and structures technology to meet the requirements of US ground and space based defense systems. He received numerous awards and commendations from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization; The US Army’s Material Directorate; and Select Members of the United States Senate throughout his career. He founded Mentis Sciences, Inc. in 1996 after his retirement, where he served as President and continued to provide key contributions to the Department of Defense.
In addition to his beloved Wife of 49 years, Rita M. Dignam, he will be sorely missed by his sister Barbara Driscoll and her husband Thomas of North Andover; children: Ellen P. Wetmore and her husband Alan; John J. Dignam and his wife Christiann; Mary-Kathleen Grams and her husband Mark; and Patricia M. Dignam; nine grandchildren; cousin Faith Carroll Harkness of Westminster, MD; several generations of nieces and nephews; and many dear friends and associates.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 23, 2012 at St. Mary of the Assumption Church at 11:30AM in Lawrence. A burial will follow in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence.
Friends may call on Thursday, March 22, 2012 from 4:00PM to 8:00PM at the John Breen Memorial Funeral Home Inc. 122 Amesbury Street, Lawrence, MA, 01841. For more information or to send an online condolence please go to:
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the American Heart Association, 20 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701, phone: (508) 620-1700 or

View Full InformationJohn Francis Dignam 3/18/2012 Methuen, MA / Methuen, MA