Dr. Robert Wiener (DDS '36) loved to tell the story of how he was initially going to enrol in Engineering at McGill, but was convinced to go into Dentistry after running into a friend on campus who was on his way to do just that. It was a fortuitous encounter, because Robert Wiener remains an example of dentistry's best: a committed teacher, community leader, skilled clinician, and enduring friend to many.
Robert Wiener, Canada's oldest man, passed away at the age of 110 on February 17th, 2019. The Faculty of Dentistry mourns his passing, and celebrates his many achievements, enduring commitment to serving his community, and the example he set for his students, colleagues, friends, and family.
His former students remember him fondly. Gerald Rudick (DDS '66), a practicing dentist in Montreal, recalls visiting Robert in his retirement home throughout the years, bringing with him his computer and color slides of new technologies used in dentistry: "although having retired more than a half century ago, his mind and eyes were still very sharp, and he could marvel of the advancements made in our profession."
Robert Wiener's son, Neil Wiener, shared these words about his father with Global News:
"Contributing to your community, those are the things which animated my father’s life, and those are lessons no matter what the year is or what the technology is, those are human qualities that are very important.”
In his graduating class yearbook, Robert Wiener wrote, "If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain." Quoting the poem by American poet Emily Dickinson, Wiener demonstrated his variety of skills and interests–in addition to graduating at the top of his class in Dentistry, he was also appeared in many English department plays. But the passage also reflects his greatest strength: compassion.
Image: Robert Weiner circa 2015. (Photos: Courtesy Wiener Family; Allen McInnis/Montreal Gazette)