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Dr. Michael Stablein, CDS president, dies

Dr. Michael Stablein, CDS president, dies
Dr. Stablein

Dr. Michael J. Stablein, the 2010 president of the Chicago Dental Society, died Nov. 14 in Mexico City of an apparent heart attack. He was 61 years old.

The news officially reached CDS membership late Nov. 14 during the society’s annual Installation of Officers event. The occasion usually involves the outgoing president making his valedictory remarks, followed by the installation of a new president. Instead, it was Dr. David J. Fulton Jr., CDS vice president, who said farewell for Dr. Stablein.

“It's one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” said Dr. Fulton. “He was just a warm soul and we’re all heartbroken.”

Dr. Stablein was in Mexico City for the Asociacion Dental Del Distrito Federal's annual meeting.

A 1978 graduate of the University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Stablein was certified in periodontics and earned a doctorate in pathology from UIC. From 1978-87, he taught in both the periodontics and pathology departments at UIC.

“He was a great guy,” said Dr. Jack Lieberman, a longtime friend who taught Dr. Stablein at UIC. “He had so much more to contribute and was taken too early. He was extraordinary and friendly to everyone.”

Another former professor-turned-colleague, Dr. Richard Perry, echoed those sentiments.

“He was one of those all-around great people,” said Dr. Perry, who chairs the CDS Access to Care Committee. “His passion was access and he did a lot to re-establish health clinics in Cook County. It’s a sad thing.”

For years, Dr. Stablein and Dr. Lieberman, a general dentist, met for weekly lunches, first on Fridays and later on Mondays. They traded off between Chinese and Italian, and any topic was fair game.

“We solved the problems of the world at those lunches,” said Dr. Lieberman.

Before rising to CDS president, Dr. Stablein held all offices in the West Side Branch of CDS, culminating in the presidency from 1992-1993, and a three-year term as branch director, 1997-1999. He also served on the CDS Access to Care, Mediation and Membership committees and was the general chair of the 139th Midwinter Meeting in 2004.

“Precious few individuals have more positively impacted organized dentistry in Illinois and the CDS than has Dr. Mike Stablein,” said Dr. Joseph F. Hagenbruch, ADA 8th District Trustee. “Certainly, I know of no one else who has exemplified any deeper dedication, demonstrated such remarkable patience, set a finer example or exhibited a higher level of issue-consciousness and understanding.  I became acquainted with Dr. Stablein very early in my organized dental experience. Over the years, I have come to know him well, appreciate his steadfast commitment to the profession, be mindful of his countless talents and treasure his sagacious counsel, as well as unreservedly tap into his wealth of knowledge.”

Dr. Stablein also was known for his dedication to mentoring young dentists, which he traced back to his years in academia. One of his biggest accomplishments was organizing a government affairs committee at CDS so that the association could become more politically involved in Cook County.

In addition to his involvement in organized dentistry, Dr. Stablein published several journal articles and co-authored a chapter in The Histology of the Oral Mucosa.

Dr. Stablein is survived by his wife, Dr. M. Caroline Scholtz, a pediatric dentist; and four children, Michael, Gabriela, Andrew and Amelia.

A memorial service will be held Nov. 20 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 991 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, IL  60045.
Donations may be sent to the Michael Stablein Memorial Fund, 5530 West Montrose Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60641.