Dr. Joseph H. ‘Skoot’ Dimon, 84, specialized in hip surgery

In 1960 Dr. Skoot Dimon did the first joint replacement surgery performed in Georgia, a colleague said, giving a patient a new hip.

Soon, he gained a reputation for hip surgery proficiency, attracting patients from around the U.S. and the world to Atlanta.

“Whenever a hip went bad, Skoot was the go-to guy,” said Dr. Steve McCullam, current president of the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic, of which Dimon was a founding partner.

McCullam admired Dimon for his professional integrity. “In writing articles for medical journals,” McCullam said, “Skoot didn’t fail to mention bad surgical outcomes. He didn’t want other doctors to duplicate the few mistakes he made.”

Dimon was generous with his surgical skills. For 35 of the 40 years he practiced here, he made annual trips to Haiti, where he spent weeks doing a wide range of surgeries, first in Port-au-Prince, later in Deschapelles.

Dr. Joseph H. “Skoot” Dimon, 84, died Monday at his Atlanta home following a long illness. A memorial service took place Thursday at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. Cremation Society of Georgia was in charge of arrangements.

According to a story passed down through his family, Dimon earned the nickname “Skoot” as a boy because he managed to stay a step ahead of an older brother who would chase him with a hatchet. It became a name by which he was known for the rest of his life. His son, Joseph “Scoot” Dimon IV of Atlanta, who spells the nickname differently, said he never learned whether the hatchet was a toy or real.

A Columbus native, Dimon began his medical training at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and did his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

His son called Dimon a wounded healer.

“Dad was troubled all his life with periods of depression,” he said, “and took comfort in counseling others with the affliction and talking them through their low spells. He considered it a ministry.”

The Rev. Frank Allen, former Episcopal bishop for North Georgia and former rector at St. Anne’s, said Dimon’s kindness, humility and generosity all flowed from his spirituality. “Skoot could have set up a clinic each Sunday in St. Anne’s vestibule the way he took time to listen to parishioners talking about their aches and pains,” he said.

Paula Spicer of Marietta, who worked as a nurse with Dimon for 16 years, said he appreciated the contributions of orthopedic nurses in the healing process and devoted himself to their training and to the recognition of their professional organization by his fellow orthopedists.

“He never missed an opportunity to educate,” she said. “We could be walking down the street and he would say, ‘Just by looking at that man ahead of us, what do you suppose is wrong with him judging by the way he walks?’ And then he would follow with his own diagnosis.”

Dimon was team physician for the Atlanta Hawks from 1969 to 1975. His successor, Dr. Dave Apple of Atlanta, said he considered Dimon his mentor. “He taught me not to allow pressure from team owners, coaches or the athletes themselves to rush a recovering player back on the court before he was ready.”

His son said Dimon took great pleasure in playing golf and tennis and in making music. Dimon played washtub bass for a pickup band of Piedmont Hospital doctors and staffers who called themselves the Unmanaged Care.

Additional survivors include his wife of 63 years, Annie Dimon; four daughters, Roz Dimon of New York City, Moppy Brumby of Tifton, Ann “Booley” Dimon of Calhoun and Jenny Spratt of Atlanta; and five grandchildren.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.