Obituaries » MAURICE H. MARTEL
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Dr. Maurice H. (Marty) Martel passed away peacefully on June 9, 2019 at the Rose Monahan Hospice Home in Worcester. His wife Rita (Bridenhagen) Martel predeceased him in 2015, a few weeks after their 60th anniversary. He is survived by son Steve and his wife Kathy of Steep Falls, ME; son Bruce and his wife Karen of Saco, ME; daughter Susan Dannenberg and her husband Bruce of Black Mountain, NC; son Dave and his wife Sheril of Sterling, MA; grandchildren Emily, Olivia, Nate, Andy, Jesse, and Isaac; and his brother Raymond of Mt. Laurel, NJ.
Marty was born in Laconia, NH on December 12, 1929. Work was scarce on the eve of the Great Depression, so the family moved around, settling in Worcester after a few other stops. He graduated from North High in Worcester in 1947, received an Associate’s degree from Worcester Junior College, and a Bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1951.
After college he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. While stationed at the Percy Jones Army hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan an occupational therapist caught his attention. Although she was a lieutenant while he was a corporal, he called and bravely attempted to pronounce her last name (Bridenhagen). Close enough, it seems, for she agreed to get together. After a period of courtship punctuated by his being stationed elsewhere for a time, and continuing after they both were honorably discharged, they were married on September 17, 1955.
Marty received his DDS degree from Northwestern University Dental School in 1957. He and Rita settled in Holden in 1957, where he established a dental practice and they started a family. In 1987 Dr. Ralph McCracken joined the practice, which he has run since Marty’s retirement from active clinical practice in 1997. Marty and Rita moved from Holden to the Briarwood Retirement Community in Worcester in 2011.
He was active in many dental organizations. Highlights include founding and serving as President of the Central New England Dental Group, president of the Worcester District Dental Society and of the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, membership in a number of other dental organizations, and a Fellow in the American and International College of Dentists. Awards included the Massachusetts Dental Society Clinician of the Year in 2005, and a lifetime achievement award by his colleagues in 2014 in grateful appreciation of his many contributions.
Marty’s interest and aptitude in prosthetic and restorative dentistry led to a faculty position in 1967 at the Graduate Prosthodontic department of the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where he became a clinical professor and continued to teach for over 40 years, including after retirement from clinical practice. He was also on the faculty of the LD Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL. He had an abiding interest in teaching, often saying he hoped he learned as much as he taught. He was in demand as a lecturer and teacher nationally and internationally. Rita accompanied him on many of the trips, particularly the overseas ones. Travel highlighted their lives well into their retirement years.
For all of the traveling and variety of his professional career, he often said his most memorable and pleasurable times were with his family at their New Hampshire vacation home, and traveling and camping throughout the country during the school years of the children. His enthusiasm for the next activity, whether an extended camping trip, a local outing, or a project or activity at home never seemed to diminish.
Marty’s involvement extended well beyond dentistry. Among other things he was the Chairman of the Holden Board of Health for a number of years, served on several committees at the Worcester Country Club where he was a longtime member, and also served on committees at the Briarwood Retirement Community. He often served for a time as President or Chair of the committees on which he served.
Everything Marty did, whether dentistry or projects at home or any of the other things that interested him, he did with the intent of achieving the best possible result. There are many ways to look at his legacy, but his dedication to doing whatever you do as well as it can be done, as expressed to his children and practiced throughout his life, is the most significant of all.
Marty was a longtime golfer, still playing in 2018. He played tennis regularly into his 80s, and was physically active throughout his life. Although those close to him are saddened by his passing, we are grateful that he led an active and full life, still planning ahead, until the last few weeks. He will be missed and honored as long as there are people who have memories of him.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with the family from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12 in the Miles Funeral Home, 1158 Main Street, Holden. Funeral services for Marty will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 13 in the funeral home with burial following in Worcester County Memorial Park, Paxton.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Hudson Hoagland Society, UMass Memorial Foundation, 333 South St., Shrewsbury, MA 01545 or online; or to the Briarwood Retirement Community, 65 Briarwood Circle, Worcester, MA 01606.