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A Sad Time for Us All

William Laney, aged 91, peacefully passed away on November 14, 2019.
posted on 6:28 PM, July 2, 2020
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From right to left Drs: Ron Desjardins, Sree Koka, Ned Van Roeckel, William Laney, Steve Eckert, James Kelly, Tom Salina

A Sad Time for Us All

In the annual year-end address to her subjects in 1992, Queen Elizabeth II described the past year as “annus horribilis,” a Latin phrase meaning “horrible year.”  She was referencing several tragic events that had befallen her family and the kingdom.  As chair of the AAMP Memorial Committee, it saddens me to refer to this year as an “annus horribilis” for our academy.

Not only have we all been impacted by the pandemic, but we have lost three of our members.  As you read about them below, please hold in your mind that each was a unique individual; loved by family, friends and colleagues.  But in addition to this, each was a giant.  Each was a past president of AAMP.  Each was a recipient of the prestigious Ackerman Award.  Most importantly, each shared a passion for Maxillofacial Prosthetics and dedicated their lives to our profession and to our academy.   

David Reisberg

 

William R. Laney DMD

William Laney, aged 91, peacefully passed away on November 14, 2019.  He most recently had been in memory care in an Eden Prairie, MN senior facility.  Bill was born in Kendallville, IN and attended Fort Wayne North High School.  He was a terrific athlete, excelling in track and basketball – so good he earned a basketball scholarship to Stanford in 1946.  Academia became more important to Bill (as did his future bride, Sally) and he transferred to the University of Oregon, graduating in 1950.  He moved on to dental school there, earning his DMD in 1954.  Concurrently he began his military service, first as a Seaman in the US Naval Reserve and later as a first Lieutenant, USAF and still later, Captain and Acting Chief of Prosthodontics at Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY 1954 - 1956.  While in Oregon he was married to Sally Ann Boutin and the couple had two children, Bob and Debbie, there.

The family moved to Iowa City in 1956 where Bill completed his residency at the University of Iowa, earning his Prosthodontics Certificate.  After two years in Iowa City, (another child, Jeff, was born there) the family moved to New York City where he earned a Postdoctoral grant from the American Cancer Society to study Maxillofacial Prosthodontics for Cancer and Allied Diseases.  Concurrently he started a private practice in prosthodontics back in Portland, OR where their 4th child, Diane, was born.

In 1960 he moved the family to Rochester, MN and joined the Mayo Clinic section of Dentistry and Oral Surgery specializing in Prosthodontics and Osseointegration.  He went on to an exemplary career there with numerous awards both in practice and instruction.  He was on the faculty at Mayo as well as the University of Minnesota Dental school.  His Curriculum Vitae is beyond impressive.  Highlights include chairing the Mayo Department of Dentistry from 1976 – 1985; periods of serving as President of numerous organizations including the Academy of Denture Prosthetics, the Academy of Osseointegration, the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, the American Board of Prosthodontics, the American Cleft Palate Association and the Minnesota Prosthodontic Society.  Through his leadership in the field of Osseointegration, he is widely recognized as one of the key pioneers in what has become the entirely new field of dental implants.  Over his career, Bill authored or co-authored numerous books, research papers and other publications all in the interest of improving the quality of life for tens of thousands of patients.

After his retirement from the Mayo Clinic, he and Sally moved to Rio Verde, AZ. He stayed active professionally by editing the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants for Quintessence Publishing. Sally died in 1994. Bill married LaDonna McGee in 1996. Bill and LaDonna spent many years traveling, spending time with family and supporting Bill’s beloved Minnesota Gophers. He had season tickets in both football and basketball since 1960.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Sally, parents Loy and Ila, sister Patsy Fraleigh and great grandson Mason. He is survived by wife, LaDonna, children; William Robert, Jr (Susan), Debra Lynn (Steven Anger), Jeffrey Michael (Christine) and Diane Elizabeth (Joe Elmgren); 9 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.  A private, family memorial service will be held later.  Memorials may be made to the William R. Laney Endowment for Prosthodontic Education at Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.org/development or Mayo Clinic - Department of Development, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.

The family would like to thank the caregivers of Brighton Hospice Care for everything they did for Bill in his last few weeks. They would also like to thank staff of Summit Place, Eden Prairie and the personal care workers of Lifespark LLC at Summit Place for the support and care they provided to our father.