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Former ADA President Burton Press dies

January 31, 2017

By Kimber Solana

Dr. Burton Press, former ADA president and speaker of the house, died Jan. 28. He was 88 years old.
A 1953 graduate of the University of Maryland Dental School, Dr. Press was a longtime leader in organized dentistry and education. After 25 years in clinical practice as a general practitioner in San Francisco, Dr. Press served as president of the California Dental Association and as a delegate to the ADA House of Delegate for eight years. He was elected speaker of the House of Delegates (1977-81) and ADA president (1981-82).

Dr. Press
In 1982, Dr. Press also became the assistant dean for continuing education and community programs at University of the Pacific School of Dentistry (now the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry).
"He interacted with a lot of people throughout his career, including a lot of lecturing in his professional life," said his wife Rona Press. "We're still getting letters from people thanking him for his help and advice and for his intellect and humor. If you ask anyone who knew him, they might tell you that he was just very caring and very honest."
While he was dedicated to organized dentistry, the father of two worked hard to put his family first.
"We had 63 years of a wonderful marriage, with two lovely children and two lovely grandsons," Mrs. Press said. "He was very dedicated to his profession but he was also a wonderful father and husband. He worked very, very hard to balance a life between [his career and family]."
"We have a lot of togetherness — our family," Dr. Press had said in his campaign literature for ADA president. "Even my involvement in dentistry has been through group discussions. Some years ago when I was questioning the practicality of greater involvement in dental affairs, I took a family poll. The response was, 'Go for it, Dad.'"
Dr. Press was also a member of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and was a fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the International College of Dentists.
Dr. Press was cremated and chose to not have a funeral. A memorial service is scheduled Feb. 18 in La Quinta, California. He is survived by his wife, Rona; two children, Caren and Adam; two grandsons, Troy and Noah; and his brother Stephen.

In lieu of flowers, send donations to the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.