Dr. Ralph E. McDonald

  • Born: May 12, 1920
  • Died: February 20, 2015
  • Location: Sanibel, Florida

Flanner Buchanan - Washington Park North Cemetery & Funeral Center

2706 Kessler Blvd. West
Indianapolis, IN 46228

info@flannerbuchanan.com
Tel. (317) 251-5959

Tribute & Message From The Family


Ralph E. McDonald
Dean Emeritus of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, 94, of Indianapolis and later Sanibel Island, Florida, and Bloomington, Indiana, passed away on February 20, 2015. Dr. McDonald, an internationally renowned pediatric dental educator, was pivotal in developing what is now known as the pediatric dentistry graduate program in the department of pediatric dentistry at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis and is widely regarded as "the Father of Pediatric Dentistry." He authored or co-authored at least 21 textbooks in addition to his many other published articles. Before and after his retirement, he was editor of the prestigious journal Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. McDonald was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on May 12, 1920, the son of Earl S. and Addie E. (Cottom) McDonald. He graduated from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1938 where he met his future wife Sarah Jane Wyatt. In 1942, he received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University where he became a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity; he and Sarah Jane were married that summer. In December of 1944, he was awarded his D.D.S. degree from Indiana University School of Dentistry in an accelerated degree program during WW II, completing the four-year program in two years and four months. After receiving his dental degree, Dr. McDonald was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy. Following additional training at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he served as the ship dentist on the troop transport USS Admiral Sims, retiring from the Navy in 1946 as Lieutenant, Dental Corps.

Dr. McDonald was appointed instructor in the IU School of Dentistry Children's Clinic in 1946 where he became a pioneer in starting the pediatric dentistry program. After receiving an M.S. from Indiana University in 1951, Dr. McDonald was named the Chair of Children's Dentistry Department in 1952. He subsequently rose through various academic ranks and was appointed Dean of the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1969. After serving the dental school with great distinction for nearly 40 years including 17 years as Dean, Dr. McDonald retired in 1985. A few months prior to his retirement, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Indiana State University.

Dr. McDonald received numerous honors from the professional and service organizations of which he was a member including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Dentistry for Children in 1972; the Indiana University School of Dentistry Alumnus of the Year Award in 1985; and the 1988 Alumnus of the Year Award, Arsenal Technical High School. Dr. McDonald was a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and Chairman of the Indiana Section; a Fellow of the International College of Dentists; and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Recently, he was also awarded the IUPUI Alumni Leaders' Maynard K. Hine Award and inducted into Indiana University's most prestigious recognition society, the IU Presidents Circle.

Under the mantra of "retire from something to something," he continued on as editor of Pediatric Dentistry for a number of years. Until recently, Dr. McDonald remained as co-author of the textbook Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent, which he created and originally published in 1963 as the textbook Pedodontics; this year's 10th edition of the textbook makes it the world's longest-running children's dentistry textbook.

After retirement he made Sanibel Island his primary residence while maintaining a residence at the Meadowood Retirement Center in Bloomington, Indiana. Dr. McDonald was a lifelong IU supporter and sports enthusiast. On Sanibel he enjoyed boating, fishing, and riding his bike on the many island bike paths; he particularly enjoyed sharing the beauty of Sanibel with visiting family and friends. Dr. McDonald was a man of great faith that sustained and guided him throughout his personal and professional life as well as through his final illness.
Dr. McDonald was blessed to live a long and full life and was surrounded by those he loved and who loved him at his passing. He will be missed.

Sarah Jane, his loving wife of nearly 58 years, preceded Dr. McDonald in death in 2000. Surviving are his children Dr. John (Barbie) McDonald, Cincinnati, OH; Dr. Scott (Arlene) McDonald, Fishers, IN; and Barbara (Jeff) Dean, Indianapolis, IN; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Also surviving is Joanne Muncey (Cleveland, OH), his much-loved companion of the last fourteen years who brought him great happiness and solace.


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Mrs. McDonald and family,
In learning of Dr. McDonald's passing recently, I along with all students he had taught and mentored, had felt a great loss, not only as a giant in academia, but also one of the most straight forward, kindest, helpful personage in our professional and non-professional careers.
His name will always be honored for what he has done for our profession as well as being a role model for all people.

Richard Benveniste,DDS,MSD '66

Posted by Richard Benveniste - Beverly Hills, CA   June 15, 2015

Still cherish those golden moments which I spent with this humble soul @ Hawaii in 2009.. Please convey my sincere condolences to the family and friends.

Posted by Padmanabhan Makkada - Coimbatore, India   March 06, 2015

John, Scott, & Barb,
We wish to extend our sincere condolences to each of you in the loss of your father. Not ignoring his tremendous achievements, my memories are substantiated by his personal participation in my early dental career, his superb organization in the pedodontic department making me realize this was the area of practice I felt I could work best and be most efficient. I always was aware of his calm presence, & he seemed to always have time for all of his students. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to grow under his influence and guidance.
Our sympathy is fully extended to you.
Respectfully,
Jim & Ginny Jinks

Posted by Jim Jinks - Ft Myers, FL - Student   February 28, 2015

Sorry to hear the loss of another ATO Brother. Prayers for his family in their time of loss. L & R

Posted by Charles Fife - Delphi, IN   February 27, 2015

The world just lost a very special man.. Dean emeritus of the IU School of Dentistry, author of a best selling textbook, WW II Navy veteran, & my grandfather.

He lived a happy 94 years of life.. drinking 3 daily martinis to keep him young. He even has a brick with his name on the sidewalk outside of Nicks bar in Bloomington.
We will continue to toast to him.. and we will never forget him. The world is a much better place because of him. I love you and miss you, Grandpa :)

Posted by Shelley - Marina Del Rey, CA - granddaughter   February 26, 2015

I met Ralph in 2007 and became his personal trainer during his stay on Sanibel Island up until this year. We became fast friends always talking college basketball since my team is the North Carolina Tarheels and he was such a staunch Hoosier fan. I enjoyed his stories of his accomplishments and how, even in his later years, he would keep in touch with former students and also, kept up with the dental field by going to seminars. Of course, most of the seminars were on a cruise ship(!), which he so enjoyed with Joanne. I will miss him but am comforted to know that he lived a long and fulfilling life. All my best to Joanne and the family. Jane Ranieri, Sanibel, FL 33957

Posted by Jane Ranieri - Sanibel, FL - Friend and Personal Trainer   February 25, 2015

Count me as one of the thousands of dentists who owe Dr. McDonald for our understanding of our profession's materials, the backbone of all we do. He was a giant in dentistry. He will be missed.

Posted by Linda S Wick, DDS - Franklin, IN - former student   February 25, 2015

A giant in pediatric dentistry and dental education, and Ralph leaves a legacy that will continue giving for many years. A truly fine human being. Even though we had the pleasure of knowing him for the last twenty years of his life, it was a privilege.

Posted by Michael & Joan Kowolik - Indianapolis, IN   February 25, 2015

To the family members and loved ones of Dr. Ralph E. McDonald, we extend our heartfelt sympathy on his passing. Ralph was a treasured friend, a supportive mentor, a trusted colleague, an effective administrator, and a cherished associate in the private practice of pediatric dentistry. He was a friend of faith and we look forward to greeting him in heaven. ~ Jim and Vi Roche

Posted by James R. Roche - Carmel, IN - Friend   February 25, 2015

Dr. McDonald will always be remembered as an excellent educator with the manners of a true gentleman. As one of his students in the Class of 1974, he served as a role model of what a dental school dean should be in the academia setting. From his legendary text book and many publicatons, I learned how to treat the pediatric patient with caring and excellence. My sincere condolences to his family -- especially Scott and Arlene.

Posted by Keith Dickey - Edwarsville, IL   February 25, 2015

Dr. McDonald was a wonderful gentleman. He will be missed by the entire state of Indiana including his friends at the Glick Eye Institute.

Posted by Barbara Marbeiter COT - Greenwood, IN   February 25, 2015

Dr McDonald was my Dean, teacher, and mentor during dental school and graduate program. His legacy is how he impacted the delivery of dental care to children throughout the world through his textbook, publications, and establishment of training programs for pediatric dentists. I feel honored to have studied under Dr. McDonald and have always tried to practice the way he would have approved. He was the first person to impress upon me the importance of achieving board status of my specialty. I never wanted to disappoint him. Barb, Scott, and John-you had a great father who did a lot for many of us and we are where we are today because of him. We have lost a great man.

Posted by George A. Adams, DDS, MSD - Nashville, TN   February 25, 2015

Dear Family,
May you find comfort in God who gives us strength and peace just when we need it most.

Posted by A friend   February 24, 2015

Dr. McDonald was my teacher, fellow faculty member and Dean. I have fond memories of working with him and I respect and admire him greatly. My condolences to the family. Due to certain circumstances my wife and I are unable to attend the viewing or funeral service. Sincerely, Dr. David K. Hennon, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.

Posted by David K. Hennon - Indianapolis, IN - Friend and faculty member   February 24, 2015

I have no doubts that he will be missed. My first contact with IU was through Dr. McDonald when he came to Rio de Janeiro to present us with a marvelous course in Pedodontics (1975) at the National Hotel. At that ocasion, I and Sonia drove them to a short visit to the city of Petropolis and have hamburgers at a local McDonald's store. I was 22 and Dr. McDonald was 55 and Dean of the IUSD. Can you imagine my excitement of having the opportunity to entertain such a wonderful couple. I was in the last year of Dental School and working under Roberto Vianna baton. In the next year I got accepted at the Masters Dental Program at IUSD (1976-1978) and two days after I arrived at Indianapolis, they invited me for a hot-dog and black beans lunch at their boat. How great can a person be. Many doors were open on my life, for me and Sonia, thanks to Dr. McDonald. I am very proud to have met such an incredible human being and still today I have hanging at my office the Ralph E McDonald Schoolarship Award I earned in 1978.
Please send my sincere condolences to the family and friends.
Rogerio Gleiser

Posted by ROGERIO GLEISER - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - former student   February 24, 2015

Dear John, Scott, and Barb,
Jackie and I share in your sorrow. What a wonderful man you had for a father. As with so many others, I am fortunate to have known him for so many years as a mentor, friend, and of course, my Dean. He was such a gentleman. I appreciate all he did for our profession and for Indiana University and for me personally. Jackie and I enjoyed our conversations with your Mom and Dad at various IU functions, especially pre-game functions in Bloomington. We have been blessed and our lives enriched by this wonderful man. We will miss him but not forget him.

Posted by Chuck and Jackie Tomich - Carmel, IN - Colleague and friend   February 24, 2015

We''ve lost a loyal Tau, great educator, and Dean. God, be with the family.

Posted by Norman Krauss DDS - Indianapolis, IN - Friend   February 24, 2015

What a great and man. Dean McDonald was not only internationally acclaimed, he, along with Dr. Glenn Irwin, Dr. Maynard Hine, and others, led the establishment of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis after its creation was approved by the state. In a sense, they were pioneers. Dean McDonald always had a kind word for everyone. My sympathies to his family who, I know, have great pride in the life he led. (Ken Beckley)

Posted by Ken Beckley - Bloomington, IN - Friend   February 24, 2015

Ralph hired me to the Dental faculty when I retired from the Navy, and we had a good association for several years.

Posted by Dr. Ron Harris - Indianapolis, IN - Dental Faculty   February 24, 2015

Dr McDonald certainly exemptlifies a Life Well Lived. He was effective in his work and made a significant contribution to the dental profession.

Posted by George Vail DDS - Fishers, IN - Former Student   February 24, 2015

We have lost a great man and leader. My prayers go with the family.
E.B. Hancock

Posted by Everett Hancock - Indianapolis, IN - Friend   February 24, 2015

Dean McDonald was a pillar of the dental profession, both academically and as a leader in organized dentistry. Cindy and I send our sympathies to Scott, Barb, John and other family members.

Posted by Philip J. Eversman DDS - Indianapolis, IN - family friend   February 24, 2015

Our blessings to the family. Bill & Susie Allman

Posted by Dr & Mrs Wm J Allman - Indianapolis, IN - friend   February 24, 2015

Dr. and Mrs. James E. Jones

Posted by Jim and Sherry Jones - Indianapolis, IN - Friend and colleague   February 24, 2015

Thanks for all you have done for dentistry and especially IUSD. You were my Dean and then became my friend. you will be greatly missed. Dr. Vince Guido IUSD class of 1982

Posted by Vince Guido - West Lafayette, IN - student and friend   February 24, 2015

I have no doubts that THIS GREAT MAN will be missed. My first contact with IU was through Dr. McDonald when he came to Rio de Janeiro to present us with a marvelous course in Pedodontics (1975) at the National Hotel. At that ocasion, I and Sonia drove them to a short visit to the city of Petropolis and have hamburgers at a local McDonald's store. I was 22 and Dr. McDonald was 55 and Dean of the IUSD. Can you imagine my excitement of having the opportunity to entertain such a wonderful couple. I was in the last year of Dental School and working under Roberto Vianna baton. In the next year I got accepted at the Masters Dental Program at IUSD (1976-1978) and two days after I arrived at Indianapolis, they invited me for a hot dog and black beans lunch at their boat. How great can a person be. Many doors were open on my life, for me and Sonia, thanks to Dr. McDonald. I am very proud to have met such an incredible human being and still today I have hanging at my office the Ralph E McDonald schoolarship award from 1978 (picture anexed).
Please send my sincere condolences to the family and friends.
Sincerely yours,
Rogerio Gleiser

Posted by ROGERIO GLEISER - Rio de Janeiro - BRAZIL   February 24, 2015

Oh, Barbie; what a wonderful man - a wonderful father. Please know that when we gather for our DAR meeting on Thursday, you will be in our hearts and prayers.

Posted by Marilyn Templeton - Plainfield, IN   February 24, 2015


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