JOHN RUSSELL DALLINGER, son of Frederick W. and Blanche L. (Russell) Dallinger, was born 8 October 1901 in Center Lovell, Maine. His father was a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from the Eighth Massachusetts District (Cambridge) from 1915 to 1932 and Judge of the U. S. Customs Court in Massachusetts until 1942. After a brilliant record in the Cambridge High and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was valedictorian of his class, he attended Harvard College and was graduated in 1922 with an A.B. degree magna cum laude in the Classics. He then attended Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and received a B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity) degree in 1925. He was ordained a deacon in May 1925 by the Rt. Rev. Charles Lewis Slattery, Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Massachusetts. He was married to Theodora Carmichael, daughter of Thomas and Alice (Peabody) Carmichael on 20 June 1925. They had no children.
At a special parish meeting held at St. Andrew's on 22 April 1925, the parish voted him to be our next vicar. After a brief honeymoon, he began his work in Ayer that summer, and at the annual parish meeting on 16 October 1925, the Rev. Dr. Endicott Peabody, headmaster at Groton School, formally welcomed Rev. and Mrs. Dallinger to St. Andrew's Church. He served here and at the mission in Forge Village for essentially one school year, while still a deacon. He was also an instructor at Groton School. It was a meaningful day for the parish when, in May 1926, he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston by Bishop Slattery; the Bishop himself had also served at St. Andrew's as a young priest (from 1894 to 1896).
From 1926-1929, he was assistant rector at Grace Church in Newton, Massachusetts. In 1929, he was called to be rector at Trinity Church in Canton, Massachusetts. While serving at Trinity Church, he received two fellowships to continue his studies at Episcopal Theological School, receiving an S.T.M. (Master of Scientific Theology) degree in 1931. During this time, he also served as a trustee of the Canton Public Library. He left in 1937 to take the post of Associate Professor of Old Testament Studies in the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he taught for three years.
In 1940, he was called to be rector at Emmanuel Church in Braintree, Massachusetts, a position he held for 29 years until his retirement in 1969. He was chaplain of a nearby Civil Air Patrol Unit, chaplain of the Braintree Fire Department, and an active member of the Boys Scouts. In May 1961, he was named the Norman Nash Fellow of the Diocese of Massachusetts, awarded to a priest who has served for 15 or more years in Massachusetts, for the purpose of studying and travelling abroad. He used his grant money to travel in England, on the continent, and in the Holy Land during the summer of 1961. During his time at Emmanuel Church, he also served from 1955-1969 as registrar and historiographer of the Diocese of Massachusetts. He and his wife retired to the Dallinger family summer home in Center Lovell, Maine.
The Rev. John Russell Dallinger died 3 February 1984 in Bridgton, Maine. He was buried in the Dallinger family lot in the Center Lovell Cemetery, Center Lovell, Maine.
1. Bennett, Mrs. Frank Silas History of St. Andrew's Church: Ayer, Groton, Forge Village 1892-1942 (Ayer, Massachusetts: St. Andrew's Church, 1944), 19.
2. Dallinger, Frederick W. An Old Fashioned New Englander (New York: Round Table Press, Inc., 1941, 123.
3. Episcopal Clerical Directory 1983 (New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1983), 153.
4. "The Rev. J.R. Dallinger," Portland Press Herald, Portland, Maine, 5 February 1984, 11.