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Remembrances: Eulogies

Dr. I Kenneth Adisman

It was just one year ago at our Philadelphia meeting that I, in his absence, stood before you reading Dr. I Kenneth Adisman's words, eulogizing Dr. Joseph Barron. Words that captured the essence of Joe Barron as we all knew him. A few short months later, we learned Ken passed away on Sunday, March 5th of this year. As Chair of the Memorial Committee, it became my responsibility to eulogize Dr. Adisman to capture the essence of this professional giant, and remember his distinguished career as a clinician, an educator, a researcher, an author, an editor, an administrator and an officer of many prosthodontic organizations. I refer you to my written words in memmorium, that appear in this years program as we dedicate this meeting to his memory. Rather than repeat those words which capture his professional essence, I would like to remember Ken as a friend, and a mentor, a role he played very well.

Although I was just a twinkle in my father's eye at the time, I first knew Ken when he and my father were classmates at the University of Buffalo College of Dentistry. Many years later, after just completing my MFP residency, I learned from my father that Ken and he were fraternity brothers, and that Ken's nickname was Little Abner, a name I still feel is fitting today a true giant of a man in every way. Encouraged by my father to extend his greeting to Ken when I saw him at the next GNYAP meeting, I nervously approached him and introduced myself. Much to my surprise, Ken put me at ease immediately, noting that he felt old knowing that a classmate's son did what he did at MFP. As he had done with many of you in the audience, he watched after me, always from a respectful distance, but always with great interest in my accomplishments, offering advise, pushing when necessary so I would grow in Prosthodontics. As Jonathan Weins noted in the eulogy he presented at NYU, Ken was a true gentleman who cared deeply about the young dental professional who were interested in Prosthodontics, always the teacher, always the quintessential mentor.

As noted in Dr. Wiens' NYU eulogy, Ken was a spiritual man. He once related the biblical passage of Jesus throwing bread onto the water to feed some small fish. One of the disciples asked Jesus why he was wasting food when all around him were hungry. He responded by saying, if we cast a little food around now, there will be plenty of fish for everyone later. I would venture to say that most of us, if not all of us, in this room have been nourished by Dr. Adisman. We should always prize the nourishment Ken has given us, always remember him for the giant of a man he was and feel comfort having called him our friend.

William Carl, DDS

As I stand here today before you and look out into the audience, I realize that there are many of you, especially our younger members and guests, who didn't know Bill Carl, some others of you who knew of him, but never spoke to him, and yet, another group of you who knew him well and called him your friend and colleague. My purpose today is to honor this man, who was my mentor, my friend and my colleague.

Bill Carl could be characterized as self-contained and independent of spirit, a somewhat quite and introverted man in a crowd of colleagues, but a dedicated clinician, teacher and researcher. During his thirty-two years at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, he worked diligently to meet the treatment needs of his MFP patients, supporting those patients in all aspects of dental rehabilitation, not just MFP. Always striving to develop newer and better treatment strategies, Bill's research efforts no only benefited his patients, but also all of our patients though his numerous scientific articles in professional journals, his textbook, his lecturing to a variety of audiences and his contributing chapters to other's textbooks.

I think it fair to say that Bill attacked life not only professionally, but also though his love of travel and mountain climbing. I dare say that, if he could write the script of his own passing, he could not have written it any better than to pass quietly in his sleep at 18,000 feet on the side of a mountain. But, please don't forget that he combined service to the worlds needy at the same time he traveled the world again living life to the fullest, but always giving of himself. He achieved all of this without fanfare, achieving accomplishment after accomplishment making his life worthy of our thoughts and contemplation today.

It is with sadness and a true sense of loss that we say goodbye to Dr. Carl today, and by honoring him, we show respect to his family and his accomplishments. He had a life worthy of celebration! Would the audience please rise and join me in a moment of silence.

Thank You

Tom Curtis and Charlie Swoope

As I stand before you today and look out into the audience, I realize that there are many of you, especially our younger members and guests, who only knew Charlie Swoope and Tom Curtis by their reputation/their publications, but never spoke to them; others of you knew them as colleagues and others of you knew them dear friends. I count myself fortunate to know them both as a colleague and friend. My purpose today is to honor these two men as we dedicate this meeting to each of them for their service to our Academy.

Tom Curtis

In giving this dedication, I have elected to emphasize Dr. Tom Curtis, the Man, so I would refer you to his "In Memoriam" published in the meeting book to appreciate his professional accomplishments, which I think we all recognize.

Tom Curtis, a native of California, lived a full and wonderful life: he was a gifted athlete, a war hero, a scholar, a valued colleague and a devoted husband and father. To quote Tom's son Don (Himself a prosthodontists!): "Dad was born in 1925 and attended local schools. At Berkeley High he was a three-sport letterman and received multiple college scholarship offers. As a 17 year old, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds baseball farm team and liked to pitch because he made $10 a game when he pitched and only $5 a game when he played center field."

He completed one semester of college at Cal before he was called to serve in WWII. Being an avid out-doors-man, he volunteered for and was selected to be in the elite 10th Mountain Infantry Division. The 10th was a unique infantry division made-up of excellent US and European skiers joined together to be a foul-weather fighting force. Tom shipped-out in December 1944 to spearhead the last part of the Italian campaign when the Germans had stopped the Allies cold in the Apennine Mountains. During the final "break-through" of the Gothic line in the PO Valley in February 1945, Tom was wounded and subsequently was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Bronze star and Silver Star. A True Hero!

Members of the 10th suffered nearly 100% casualties with more than 1000 killed in action. Of the 12 men in Tom's squad, only two, Tom and one other, returned home alive. In a "quirk of faith", Tom died a few hours after driving back from a Monterey reunion meeting with a group of 10th Mountain Division veterans.

Quoting his son Don: "When Tom returned to Cal in 1945, Tom actually received 6-units of soil science credit for the fox holes he dug during the war in Italy. imagine that! He completed 2 years at Cal and then entered dental school at UCSF; graduating in 1951 with the highest academic award and then joined his Dad, Harold Curtis in his Berkeley dental practice. And, his long and illustrative dental career began."

About the same time, Tom, courted and married "Sis" forming a bond of love that spanned 55 years yielding four children: Linda, Don, Jim & John. To give you some insight to "home-life" in the Curtis household, I would like to again quote Tom's son Don remembering a time about 30-years ago when all the Curtis children we home from college for the Christmas holiday:

"Mom had been on us to go buy some nice clothes for the Christmas parties, but we had not complied. On the night of the Christmas party, we checked out our closets, saw the meager pickings, and decided to look over Dad's wardrobe. Once we heard my Dad was in the shower, we snuck into his closet and made off with his best 3 shirts, ties, and slacks. We ran down to Jim's room and pinned the pants, tied the ties, and paraded by Mom and through the kitchen feeling smug with our haul. Mom smiled, but did not say much. Jim, John and I settled on the family room couch and started to watch a football game.

About 10-minutes later, we heard my Dad yell "Honey, where are my clothes?" We looked hopefully at our Mom as she walked down the hall to talk with Dad. As we listened to my parent's footsteps coming back up the hall, my sister Lindy said: "You guys are so busted", which was true. Then, she said: "You guys are so stupid", which was also true. My Dad, dressed only in boxers, turned to us and said: "You guys have my best shirts, ties, and slacks. Is there anything else you need? We considered this as a trick question and said nothing. He then laughed and went back to his depleted closet to wear his 4th best outfit. We ended up having a great time at the party. This story is actually quite true, but more importantly the metaphor of Dad giving the shirt off his back is also true. Dad gave us everything."

At this point I think a personal experience is in order: When looking for a MFP position back in 1976, I was interviewed by Tom for a position at SF. Rather than "putting me up" in a hotel, he invited me into his home for my overnight stay giving me his daughter's bed. Of course, Linda was away at the time. I felt very special to be able to share in the Curtis family life.

Although Don and his brothers and sister recognized Tom's, and I quote, "professional accomplishments reflecting intelligence, principled goals and much compassion", they, as kids, knew him as the Dad that came to all our athletic events and who was always ready to shoot hoops, play catch, go fishing, or just talk.

Again quoting Don Curtis: "On behalf of my Mother Sis, brothers Jim and John, sister Lindy, my dad's sister Peggy and her husband Kirby, I would like to express my family's appreciation to the Academy for honoring my Dad at this meeting."

Charlie Swoope

Charlie Swoope passed away early Tuesday morning, February 13, 2007 as a result of complications from a fall the previous week that broke several ribs and resulted in a small amount of bleeding in his lung.

As Chair of the Memorial Committee, it my responsibility to capture the essence of this professional giant, and remember his distinguished career as a clinician, an educator, a researcher, an author, an administrator, an editor and an officer of many prosthodontic organizations as we dedicate this meeting to him for his service to our Academy. Again, as with Tom Curtis, I refer you to my written words "In Memoriam" that appear in this year's program; rather than repeat those words which capture his professional essence, I would like to remember Charlie as a friend, and a mentor, maybe a "Father Figure" to many roles he played very well.

Charlie was know for his thoughtfulness as measured by his habit of sending congratulatory notes for recent publication, for promotions, for acceptance in various prosthodontic organizations or just because it was your birthday, to remember your marriage university or to celebrate the birth of a child.

Steve Parel, remembers Charlie as his mentor, albeit probably unknown to Charlie, in learning the ways and personalities of dental politics. Steve notes the value of honesty and fairness in the way Charlie conducted his personal and professional life. He was one of those rare gentlemen who presided without a personal agenda, and was willing to listen to and counsel younger colleagues or sometimes overly aggressive Academy without diminishing their initiative.

Sal Esposito wrote this note to Charlie's son, Douglas: While I would only see Charlie at the annual meetings of the AAMP, APS and AP, he was always so kind and friendly to the new kids on the block. He accomplished so much and contributed enormously to our specialty, but he always took the time to stop and encourage young people.

It has been said that Charlie's eyes would gleam with proud when describing the immense personal gratification he amassed from the years of nurturing and educating graduate prosthodontic students again, the ultimate Father Figure.

I am told that Charlie's zeal for fishing may date back to age five as a result of his daily fishing trips with his grandmother on an extended Florida vacation. Charlie enjoyed the challenge of the sport of fishing, but especially enjoys the camaraderie surrounding the sport. Although Charlie was considered to be somewhat reserved, Charlie loved the personal challenge of salt-water fishing, albeit self imposed, by fishing for the largest fish that could be caught with the lightest tackle. A memorable trophy was a 110 lb. sailfish landed on a fly rod after a 3.5-hour battle.

Retirement did not diminish his compassionate and productive approach to life as evident from participating in the "Habitat for Humanity" mission building houses for the underprivileged. This mission has sixteen houses currently under construction at the time of Charlie's death with a goal of fifty houses in the next two years atnthe time of Charlie's death. Charlie valued his time as Docent of the Art Museum, his time with the Friends of the Library and his fellowship at his church.

Charles Carroll Swoope was a remarkable man, loving husband and father and caring mentor. Those who were honored to call him friend and colleague will miss his smile.

I think it of interest to point that Charlie and Tom passed away within 4 days of each other! I would ask you all to please rise and join me for a moment of silence to remember our colleagues. We will miss them all!

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