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Class of 1967 (Endodontics)



Dr. Henry Van Hassel

Dr. Henry John “Hank” Van Hassel died on Oct. 22, 2020 in Heiskell, Tenn. He was 87.

He was born on May 2, 1933 and raised on the “mean streets” of Paterson, N.J. He graduated early from Paterson Central High School and in 1954 was Man of the Year at Maryville College, where he received his BA in English. He immediately joined the U.S. Army and served in the aftermath of the Korean War. In 1960 he married Ann Newell Wiley of Heiskell, Tenn. He was in dental school and she had recently left her position as Maryville College’s first admissions counselor and was teaching. He received his DDS from the University of Maryland and an MS and PhD in physiology from the UW. He was honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from each of these institutions.

Dr. Van Hassel was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and interned at the USPHS Hospital in San Francisco. He then was stationed at the USPHS hospitals in Boston and Seattle. He was a professor at the School of Dentistry before becoming chair of the Department of Endodontics at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. In 1984 he was named dean of the School of Dentistry at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where he also became a vice president, and served as president of the Oregon Dental Association. He retired in 1998.

He was a Diplomate of the American Association of Endodontists, served as president of the AAE, and was editor of the Journal of Endodontics for many years. He authored numerous articles in scientific journals, contributed chapters to several books, and co-authored two books. He was the recipient of every distinguished award possible from his professional organizations.

Dr. Van Hassel was a fine athlete and gym rat, who until nearly the end of his life went twice a day to bike, use the treadmill, and lift weights. He played racquetball competitively, and he and his wife ran many road races in Seattle, Baltimore, and Portland. He could quote the Bible, Shakespeare, and myriad other poets at the drop of a hat, and sing hundreds of old pop songs and hymns. He had a wonderful sense of humor and told fantastic stories. He was a gifted teacher, and many of his graduate students kept in touch with him over the years.

Dr. Van Hassel is survived by his wife, Ann; and cherished members of her family: Jeanette Wiley McMaster; Mary Wiley (Bill) McWhorter: Karen L. Wiley (Mike) Young; Bruce, Karla, Lindsay, and Kasey McMaster; Jane (McMaster), Dan, and Ben Clemons; Catherine (McMaster), Paul, Anne, and Rachel Pietrow; Elizabeth (McWhorter), John, Ethan, Allison, and Madeline Bridger; Andrea Wiley; and Josh, Rachel, Noah, Heidi, and Burks Wiley. He was preceded in death by his “brother” David Lee Wiley; parents Ina and William Van Hassel; in-laws Mildred and Eugene Wiley; and brother-in-law and friend William M. McMaster. (Holley Gamble)