1950s

Class of 1958 (Orthodontics)

IN MEMORIAM

DR. ROBERT H. DEMPSEY, ORTHODONTICS CLASS OF 1958

Dr. Robert DempseyDr. Robert Howard “Howie” Dempsey died on Aug. 23, 2019 in Yakima, Wash. He was 93.

He was born on Nov. 22, 1923 in Freewater, Ore., to Stillman and Winnie Catherine Dempsey. He and his family, including his brother, William, first lived on an apple ranch owned by his mother’s father.

Dr. Dempsey recalled an idyllic childhood that included a fishing stream running through his backyard, endeavors to make the perfect slingshot, forts built from found boards, and whistling through his evening paper route. He received his first amateur radio operator’s license at the age of 15 and maintained the same call sign – W7HQC – throughout most of his hamming years. Building and operating radio equipment to communicate with fellow radio enthusiasts around the globe became a lifelong passion.

Upon graduation from high school, he entered Oregon State College and pledged Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. With World War II underway, he entered the U.S. Army in May 1944 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant, U.S. Army Signal Corps, as he participated in the liberation of France, Battle of the Bulge, and liberation of Germany.

After returning home, Dr. Dempsey enrolled at the University of Oregon. He entered the University of Oregon Dental School in 1949. On Aug. 25, 1957, he married Lorna Alice Campbell of Selah, Wash., in the First Presbyterian Church (now Grace of Christ) of Yakima. After graduation, they returned to Yakima, where he had an orthodontic practice from 1958 to 1987. Many years later, former patients would seek him out to display their “Dr. Dempsey” smiles.

Dr. Dempsey was introduced to golf while still on active duty in Europe. He was a first-rate player for several decades. Following his retirement from dentistry, he became the first Apple Tree Golf Course Marshal. He rode the cart paths from 1993 until 2011, making friends on the greens and in the clubhouse.

Dr. Dempsey is survived by his wife, Lorna, of Yakima; sons Rob (Tracy) of Abilene, Texas and Paul of Yakima; and grandchildren Joshua, Bethany, Jordan, Jonathan Luke, and Bre of Texas. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother. (Yakima Herald)

DR. LESLIE C. ERICKSON, ORTHODONTICS CLASS OF 1958 

Dr. Leslie EricksonDr. Leslie Clare “Les” Erickson passed away on Feb. 13, 2020 in Issaquah, Wash., due to complications related to a fractured hip. He was 92.

Dr. Erickson was born to Cora and Erick Leonard in Tacoma, Wash., on May 26, 1927, where he grew up with two older brothers and a younger sister. He graduated from Lincoln High School in May 1945. A few days later, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He trained in San Diego before serving as a Seaman First Class (Quartermaster) aboard the USS Wildcat in the Pacific (1945-46). That fall he entered the (then) College of Puget Sound in Tacoma.

In 1951 he met his future wife, Patricia Vermilion, at the UW, where she was a student in home economics. They were married in Bremerton, Wash., and lived in Seattle until he completed dental school. A U.S. Public Health Service dental residency in Baltimore followed. They returned to Seattle in 1955, and he worked as a dentist while pursuing graduate work.

Upon graduation, Dr. Erickson was immediately appointed to a faculty position, which he held until 1977. He then served as chair of the newly formed Orthodontics Department at the University of Colorado (1977-1984).  He subsequently relocated to the University of Nebraska, where he taught from 1984 to 1996. He received the UNMC Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991. He was an excellent clinician and a dedicated educator.

In 1958, the Ericksons moved to Shoreline, Wash., where they raised their children. Dr. Erickson was in private practice in Seattle’s University District from 1958-77. The Erickson family went on many memorable camping and hiking trips. They were also involved with church activities at Ronald United Methodist Church. Among other professional memberships and honors during this time, he served as clinical assistant professor and clinical associate professor at the School of Dentistry (1958-77); president of the Washington State Association of Orthodontists (1969-72); and president of the University of Washington Orthodontic Alumni (1974-79).

Dr. Erickson collected books and antiques, and was a woodworker and wood-turner. He and his wife also traveled.

He is survived by his children, Gerald (Linda) of Everett, Wash., Sandra (Mike) of Watamu, Kenya, Gordon (Linda) of Orcas Island, Wash., and Elizabeth of Seattle; grandchildren Michael (Abbie), Stephen, Peter (Anne), Rebecca, Melissa (Tony), Kali (Tyler), Samantha (Jared), Bradley, and Joe; and great-grandchildren Aaron, Ashley, Molly Ann, Mason, Lucas, Zachary, Matilda, Wesley, and Eleanor. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia, his parents, his brothers Evan and Darel, and his sister Betty. (Denver Post)

DR. WILLIAM J. WISE, ORTHODONTICS, CLASS OF 1958

Dr. William WiseDr. William Joseph Wise, a resident of Rockwall, Texas, passed away on Jan. 14, 2017 in Dallas. He was 86.

Dr. Wise was born on Jan. 11, 1931 to Laura Manning Wise and Rogers Croswell Wise in Greenville, Texas. He received his DDS from Baylor University College of Dentistry in 1954 and joined the U.S. Public Health Service as a first lieutenant in 1956, serving as an assistant dental surgeon. He received his orthodontics certification at the UW. He was awarded the Milo Hellman Award in 1958 for his research on heredity and the craniofacial complex at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He began his private orthodontics practice that year in Dallas, where he quickly became one of the area’s premier orthodontists and practiced for more than 50 years. He was one of the founding faculty members of Baylor’s graduate orthodontics program and served as a clinical instructor from 1960 to 1975.

Dr. Wise is survived by his wife of 30 years, Ruthanne; four children; five stepchildren; 18 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews; and great friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Helen Virginia Lacy. (Legacy)