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In Memoriam: Dr. Gerald Zanvil Wright

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It is with sadness that we share news that Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Zanvil Wright – professor emeritus at Schulich Dentistry and a passionate local and international advocate of dental training in pediatric practice – has passed away.

Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Zanvil Wright

DDS, MSD, FRCD(C), DIP AM BRD OF PED DENT,

 Headshot of Dr. Wright smiling at the camera with trees and blue sky in the background

Beloved husband,

Cherished father and grandfather.

Gerry chose to die with dignity after realizing that cancer was one of the few battles he would not be able to win.  He passed away at home surrounded by the love of his family on October 30, 2019.  Gerry is survived by his wife Nancy, his children Michael (Robyn), Charles (Jill), Jeffrey (Linh) and his six grandchildren Simone, Maxine, Lexi, Josh, Theo and Lily.  He was proud of them all.  Nothing made him happier than family gatherings with everyone present.  He always enjoyed hearing from them about their adventures and accomplishments.  He was also close with his brother Errol and his wife Jackie. However, the most important light in his life was Nancy, his partner in almost everything that he did and accomplished.

Gerry was born in the north end of Winnipeg, son of Harry and Frima, and it was in Winnipeg that he met south-ender Nancy, the love of his life.  After he completed graduate school at Indiana University they moved to London where they have lived for almost 50 years.  Despite his busy and successful career Gerry always found time for family as a coach of his boys’ baseball teams (including the Butcher Block of Byron Mets) and he supported all three boys in their various other sports efforts.  Accompanying his boys also meant he "happened" to be able to spend time with them at Frank Vetere’s, Bartliff’s, and at Merla Mae.  He also pushed his three sons to not settle for anything less than their best, which was invaluable for each of them.  His career enabled he and Nancy to enjoy their passions, travel and hiking, to their fullest as their journeys took them all over the world, including all six continents.  He was a dedicated Blue Jays fan and always looked forward to his annual trip with his sons, initially golfing, and recently to watch baseball.  He relished family time at cottages in Bayfield and Port Elgin.

Professionally, Gerry was internationally respected as a clinician, writer and Professor Emeritus at Western University.  He was a member of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and became the Chair of the Division of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry. Gerry was never one to sit still, and during his time at Western his innovations led to the creation of several programs, including being the founder and director of Operation Belarus, a project to improve dentistry in Belarus.  With colleagues he developed the Mustang Dental Conference.  At the end of his academic career he was responsible for creating the Qualifying Program (later known as the International Program) for landed immigrants who were trained as dentists outside of Canada.  He was well-published, having edited/authored numerous scientific articles and five books, including the leading text on behaviour management of children in the dental office, which he recently worked on revising for a new edition and which in his honour will now be entitled Wright’s Behaviour Management in Dentistry for Children.

Gerry was also very involved in dental activities outside of London.  He served on the Board of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, was President (Chair) in 1986 and was an Examiner of the Royal College of Dentistry.  Once retired, he became the Secretary General of the International Association of Pediatric Dentistry (IAPD).  He worked with dentists around the world, and during his twelve years as Secretary General he made a significant impact, including creating the program Dentists for All Children, which helped academics in low-income nations and the IAPD International lecture program.

Gerry was a Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, at Baylor College in Texas, at Sydney University in Australia, at Ulm University in Germany, and Trinity College in Ireland.  He received numerous recognitions.  For his work in Belarus, he received an Honoris Doctoris Causa.  In 2001, he was awarded the Medal of Paris for his work with children around the world.  In Romania, he was referred to as the father of modern pediatric dentistry.  In 2003, he received the A.J. Herman Fellowship from the University of Western Australia for enriching their understanding of how to help less fortunate countries improve the dental health of children.

In his retirement Gerry was also busy in London, with Temple Israel, with his weekly hiking group, painting and with daily work outs at the Y.  He also logged a lot of miles back and forth to Stratford.

A service will be held at Logan Funeral Home at 371 Dundas St. in London on November 1, 2019 at 2:00 pm, which will be followed by an interment for family at Restmount-Temple Israel Cemetery.  A reception to visit and reminisce will be held in the library at the Sir Adam Beck Manor, 250 Sydenham St. from 4:30 to 7:00 pm. 

Donations may be made to the Making A Difference Fund c/o the London Community Foundation, 130 King Street, London ON N6A 1C5, www.lcf.on.ca/donate, or to the charity of your choice.

Online condolences can be expressed at www.loganfh.ca

A tree will be planted, by the staff of the Logan Funeral Home,

as a living memorial to Dr. Gerald Wright
 
 
Last modification time:2019-11-01 PM 4:04

The International Association of Paediatric Dentistry (IAPD) is a non-profit organization founded in 1969, with the objective to contribute to the progress and promotion of oral health for children around the globe.

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IAPD now has 72 National Member Societies and represents more than 15,000 dentists.

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