Join ADAMember Log In




Dr. Coleman Gertler, past ADA Trustee, dies at 87

Bayside, Wis.— Though retired from the practice of orthodontics since the mid-1980s, Dr. Coleman Gertler remained a champion for the profession—serving as a mentor to dental students at Marquette University School of Dentistry in Milwaukee.

Dr. Gertler, a past ADA trustee, delegate and council member, died Nov. 2 at the age of 87.

In addition to his dedication as a practitioner, tripartite leader and mentor, he was well known as a dental editor, dental examiner, golf enthusiast, joke teller and concerned friend.

"He was a tower of strength. A great friend and someone you could depend on," said his close friend and colleague Dr. Frank Shuler, past ADA president (1976-1977). "We used to visit or talk on the phone every month or two. I will miss him a great deal."

"He kept his hand in dentistry," added Dr. Shuler's wife Jean. "He encouraged a lot of people and throughout his life he emphasized the importance of education."

Dr. Shuler, of Palmyra, Wis., remembers his colleague as a man who remembered details about the lives of everyone he met, from his dental peers to the owner of his favorite Milwaukee delicatessen.

"He had so many friends, and he always was good at keeping in touch to find out how you and your family were doing. He was really a very loveable man," Dr. Shuler said.

Born in 1922 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Dr. Gertler received his dental degree from McGill University in Montreal in 1950 and was a private practice orthodontist.

He served on the ADA Board of Trustees from 1975 to 1977, representing the Ninth District (Wisconsin and Michigan). He was appointed as ADA trustee to fill Dr. Shuler's spot on the Board when he was chosen as president-elect.

Dr. Gertler was also a delegate to the ADA House and a member of the ADA Council on Dental Care Programs. While on CDCP, he chaired its uniform claim committee.

From 1977 to 1980, Dr. Gertler was a member of the ADA Public Education Program, serving as a regional consultant and an ADA spokesperson.

At the state level, Dr. Gertler served in many capacities, including Wisconsin Dental Association president (1972-1973) and editor of the Wisconsin Dental Association Journal (1971-1983). He received the WDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. At the local level, Dr. Gertler was associate editor for the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association Bulletin from 1956-1964 and a delegate to the WDA House from 1967-1971.

He was also an examiner for the Central Regional Dental Testing Service and the Wisconsin Dental Examining Board.

Dr. Gertler was a member of the Wisconsin Society of Orthodontics, the Midwest Society of Orthodontics, the American Association of Orthodontics, the American College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, the American Association of Dental Editors, the American Association of Dental Examiners, Alpha Omega, Rotary and many other groups and organizations.

Dr. Gertler is survived by his wife Jane; sons Mark, Paul and Frank Gertler; and grandchildren Sarah, Sam and Joey Gertler.

Funeral services were held Nov. 5 in Shorewood, Wis. An online guestbook can be found www.blanegoodmanfunerals.com.

Memorial gifts can be directed to McGill University, School of Dentistry, Room M-51, Strathcona Anatomy & Dent, 3640 University St., Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B2 or University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, 2155 Webster Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94115.