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Dr. Helyn Luechauer led life advocating for women dentists

December 02, 2016

By David Burger

Dr. Luechauer
Dr. Helyn Catherine Luechauer, the first female member of the California Department of Consumer Affairs' Board of Dental Examiners and former president of the American Association of Woman Dentists, died in late September. She was 95.

"She was an amazing woman in many ways, a great mentor, and a huge supporter of women and dentistry," said Dr. Kathryn Kell, president-elect of the FDI World Dental Federation and ADA trustee from 2004-08. "She was so enthusiastic pushing all of us to be leaders. What a long, happy, healthy, accomplished life she led."

A California native, Dr. Luechauer earned her dental degree from the University of California, San Francisco, in her 40s and practiced dentistry for 35 years alongside her husband Dr. Jarvis "Lick" Luechauer in Hollywood, California.

In 1977, Gov. Jerry Brown, in his first term as governor, appointed Dr. Luechauer as the first women in its 90-year history to serve on the California Department of Consumer Affairs' Board of Dental Examiners.

In 1991, the American Association of Women Dentists presented Dr. Luechauer with the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award, its highest honor, in recognition of her service to dentistry, commitment, dedication to her patients and support of her peers.

On April 8, the UCSF School of Dentistry honored Dr. Luechauer as a member of the Half Century Club in recognition of her contributions during more than 50 years as a dental professional.

Among Dr. Luechauer's many passions were genealogy, advocacy for women and nutrition, according to her obituary. In 1974, she earned a master's degree in nutritional biochemistry and maintained a holistic, sugar-free lifestyle for the rest of her life. Until two years ago, she drove a Toyota Prius with the plate reading "4 NO SUGAR."