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Dr. McKechnie, former educator and ADA vice president, dies at 97

January 07, 2015

Dr. McKechnie
Camp Hill, Pa
. — Dr. Alexander James McKechnie, a former ADA trustee and vice president, died Dec. 25, 2014. He was 97 years old.
"I've lived a full wonderful life here on this orbit, and will leave with no regrets for the paths that were opened to me and the opportunities I chose," Dr. McKechnie had often said, according to his obituary published in the Patriot-News.
Dr. McKechnie's professional accomplishments included a career in education, running a private general dentistry practice for 26 years and getting elected in numerous leadership roles in organized dentistry. He served as ADA Third District trustee in the mid-1980s after serving as ADA second vice president from 1980-81.
Prior to his work in dentistry, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from Bloomsburg State Teachers College in Pennsylvania in 1939 and pursued a career in education. He taught physics and science in junior high and high school. While teaching high school, he also acquired his Master of Science in Education from Bucknell University in 1941.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46 as a senior grade lieutenant officer. He was a sonar and radar specialist in anti-submarine warfare. Dr. McKechnie received eight Service of Distinction medals. After the war, the G.I. bill allowed him to fulfill another dream — becoming a dentist.

Dr. McKechnie, at 29 years old, attended Temple University School of Dentistry from 1946-50. After receiving his dental degree, he accepted assistant professorship and assistant dean positions at Temple while working in a Philadelphia private practice for three years.

In 1953, Dr. McKechnie moved his young family to Camp Hill where he opened his private practice and became a leader in church, school and community organizations.

Dr. McKechnie retired in 1979 but remained active in dentistry, often volunteering his dental skills at nursing homes and taking on leadership roles in the ADA. According to this family, he also found use for his dental tools in woodworking and ships-in-a-bottle projects.

Dr. McKechnie is survived by his four children and their families. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth McKechnie, in 2008.

The family held a memorial service for Dr. McKechnie on Jan. 5. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that in honor of Dr. McKechnie's dedication and leadership in education, memorial gifts may be made to: The Dr. Alex J. McKechnie Memorial Fund, c/o The Lion Foundation, Camp Hill School District, 2627 Chestnut St., Camp Hill, PA 17011.