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Longtime chair of Prosthodontics Dr. Chuck Bolender passes away

Dr.-Chuck-BolenderDr. Chuck Bolender, who had a long and distinguished career in prosthodontics and made a lasting impact on the UW School of Dentistry and the dental profession, passed away on April 30, 2024.

Dr. Bolender came to the UW Department of Prosthodontics to teach in 1959 and served as chair of the department from 1963 to 1989. After stepping down as chair in 1989, he continued to teach for another 11 years. Prior to his time at UW, he received his dental training at the University of Iowa, then served as an active-duty prosthodontist in the U.S. Army.

“His desire to share the latest developments in prosthodontics extended beyond his work in the classroom,” said Dean André Ritter. “When a friend suggested that he start a prosthodontics study club, not only did he start mentoring one in Seattle in September 1962, he did so in Yakima as well.”

Dr. Chuck Bolender and his wife, Mamie Bolender.

Dr. Bolender’s leadership in prosthodontics is footnoted by such professional recognitions as the presidencies of the Academy of Prosthodontics and the Pacific Coast Society for Prosthodontics, and his selection in 1989 as the School of Dentistry’s first Washington Dental Service Distinguished Professor. He also served on the boards and as a member of numerous professional societies.

“His contributions to the UW School of Dentistry were many,” said Dr. Daniel Chan of the Department of Restorative Dentistry. “Among them, he led the task force for, and was instrumental in, the development, planning and construction of the current simulation lab, which at the time was one of the most advanced simulation labs in the country.”

In his academic career he gave more than 200 major presentations worldwide. He also wrote, “Prosthodontic treatment of edentulous patients: Complete dentures and implant supported prosthesis”, a text still being used as a reference in many programs.

In retirement, he continued to work with the Seattle prosthodontics study club and enjoyed time indulging his passions for gardening, fishing and photography, as well as spending time with his family, including his wife Mamie, his three children and many grandchildren.

“We are thankful for Dr. Bolender’s many contributions, both personal and professional, and the entire dental community will miss him dearly,” said Dr. Chan. “He was a mentor and a friend to us all.”