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Dr. Robert M. Unger remembered for his dedication to ADA

September 05, 2017

By David Burger

Photo of Dr. Robert Unger
Dr. Unger
Dr. Robert M. Unger, ADA 8th District trustee from 1980-86 and ADA vice president from 1973-74, died Sunday, Sept. 3, at 93.

Born in Chicago to Austrian immigrants, Dr. Unger earned his dental degree from the Chicago College of Dental Surgery in 1946, according to his obituary. A veteran of the U.S. Army who served in WWII, he was honorably discharged as a captain of the U.S. Army Dental Corps in 1948.

Dr. Unger maintained a private practice on the southwest side of Chicago from 1948 to 2006, according to the obituary.

A life member of the Chicago Dental Society, Illinois State Dental Society and the ADA, Dr. Unger served as president of the Englewood branch of the Chicago Dental Society and the Illinois State Dental Society, was a co-founder of the Illinois Dental Political Committee (currently DENT-IL-PAC) and helped establish Illinois Dental Service Insurance (Delta Dental of Illinois), according to his obituary. He also served as president of the Chicago Academy of General Dentistry and was a member of the American Dental Political Action Committee from 1986-1992.

Dr. Unger’s son, Dr. Joseph Unger, served as chair of the Council of Dental Practice from 2014-15. Dr. Unger’s wife, Dorothy, is a past president of the Alliance of the American Dental Association.

A man of faith who attended Mass daily, Dr. Unger was lay director of the Liturgical Commissions, Archdiocese of Chicago, from 1964-1994, according to the obituary. He also served as the head of the dental clinic at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. School for Exceptional Children in Tinley Park, Illinois, from 1950-1965.

“I’m very saddened by his passing,” said Dr. Joseph A. Devine, ADA president from 1986-87. “He’s as dear a friend as I ever had. And no man was as dedicated as he was.”

Dr. Walter F. Lamacki, 8th District trustee from 1990-94 and editor of CDS Review, echoed the sentiment of Dr. Unger’s devotion to duty. “He read everything when he was a trustee,” Dr. Lamacki said. “He was an encyclopedia.”

Dr. Lamacki added, “He was really something. I don’t think there was anyone who was like him.”

Visitation is Sept. 6 from 3–9 p.m. at the Foran Funeral Home in Summit, Illinois.

The funeral will begin with prayers Sept. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the Foran Funeral Home, followed by a procession to a 10 a.m. Mass at St. Jane de Chantal Church in Chicago.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation, 206 S. 6th St., Springfield, IL 62701.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Unger’s family on his personal tribute website at

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Dental Society.