Donald Dinan loved baseball, so much so that he brought the game to Alexandria when he founded the Alexandria Aces in 2006. His passion was contagious as crowds cheered on the team that won the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League Championship in 2022. On Jan. 29, the sports fan turned visionary died after a period of declining health. He was 74.
“Don was a walking encyclopedia and a wealth of knowledge,” said current team owner Frank Fannon. “We would have endless hours of conversation about politics and baseball, two of his favorite subjects.”
Dinan, who co-founded the team with local resident Pat Malone, sold the team to Fannon in 2021 after an ownership that lasted 15 years. As part of the Cal Ripken League, the Aces are an affiliate of Major League Baseball and professional scouts regularly attend games to recruit players for the MLB draft.
“We formed the team in 2006 with our first season in 2008,” Dinan said when turning over the reins to Fannon, a lifelong Alexandrian and former member of City Council. “Frank has been on the board since day one and due to a lot of reasons, I decided it was time for me to step back and let the next group take over and that’s Frank.”
Donald Robert Dinan was born Aug. 28, 1949, in Nashua, N.H., to the late Robert and Jeannette (Farland) Dinan. He lived in Ellicott City, Md., from fourth grade through college.
Dinan graduated from Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore in 1967. It was there he met his future wife, Amy Littlepage, whom he married in 1978. He went on to earn degrees from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, Georgetown University Law Center in 1974, and the London School of Economics in 1975.
A resident of Capitol Hill, Dinan began his career at the U.S. International Trade Commission and continued to work in the fields of international trade and the protection of intellectual property. He taught a course in international trade law at Georgetown Law for over 30 years and served as the General Counsel to the National Tax Lien Association.
Dinan was active in DC politics for over 45 years, serving as president of the Ward 6 Democrats and as general counsel to the DC Democratic State Committee. He served on the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee and represented DC as a super delegate three times at Democratic National Conventions.
In addition to baseball and politics, Dinan enjoyed foreign travel, boating on his boat "Irish Wake," and was an avid Black Diamond skier.
Dinan is survived by his wife Amy, daughter Emma Ellenrieder and her husband, Matthias, his siblings James Dinan and his wife Elizabeth Miller, William Dinan, Mary Anne Dinan and Barbara Guiltinan with her husband Edward. He was predeceased by his parents and a younger brother, Robert Dinan Jr.
A visitation will be held at DeVol Funeral Home, 2222 Wisconsin Ave., NW, DC, Feb. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Peter's Church, 313 2nd St., SE, DC, Feb. 12, at 9:30 a.m., followed by interment at Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E St., SE, DC.
In lieu of flowers donations be made in his name to Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, or to The Society to Preserve H.L. Mencken’s Legacy.
“Don touched so many people in different areas of his life,” Fannon said. “He was a true asset to the greater Washington community and he will be missed by all who knew him.”