Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Zanvil Wright

Dr. Gordon Nikiforik

Dr. Donald Cheung

Remembering Dr. Gerry Wright

Honourary Member of CAPD/ACDP

1935 - October 30, 2019

It is with sadness that we share news that Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Zanvil Wright – professor emeritus at Schulich Dentistry and a passionate local and international advocate of dental training in pediatric practice - passed away at home surrounded by the love of his family on October 30, 2019.  A tribute to Dr. Wright will appear in the End-of-Year issue of The Mirror.

He was always a Winnipeg north ender, the poor side of town, and throughout his career he helped those who had seen hardship in life.

After graduating from U of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry in 1960, he returned to Winnipeg to practice and was encouraged by Dr. Wilf Feasby to study pediatric dentistry. In 1971, having graduated from pediatric dentistry at Indiana University, he joined Dr. Feasby, now located at Western University, and began an illustrious academic career.

As a DDS, MSD, FRCD (C), Dip. American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, he was an internationally respected clinician, writer and Professor Emeritus at Western University. He was a member of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and became the Chair of the Division of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry.

His innovations led to the creation of several programs, including being founder and director of Operation Belarus, a project to improve dentistry in Belarus.

With colleagues at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, he also developed the Mustang Dental Conference and at the end of his academic career he was responsible for creating the Qualifying Program (later known as the International Program) for landed immigrants who were trained as dentists outside of Canada.  He edited/authored numerous scientific articles and five books, including writing the leading text on behaviour management of children in the dental office; the newly revised edition will be titled Wright’s Behaviour Management in Dentistry for Children in his honour.

As a matter of note, Dr. Wright was the Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Annual Conference on the topic of Behaviour Management.

He served on the Board of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, was an Examiner of the Royal College of Dentistry and worked with dentists around the world as Secretary General of the International Association of Pediatric Dentistry (IAPD. Among his initiatives was creating Dentists for All Children, which helped academics in low-income nations, and the IAPD International lecture program.

Dr. Wright was a Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, at Baylor College in Texas, at Sydney University in Australia, at Ulm University in Germany, and Trinity College in Ireland. For his work in Belarus, he received a Doctor Honoris Causa. In 2001, he was awarded the Medal of Paris for his work with children around the world. In Romania, he was referred to as the father of modern pediatric dentistry. In 2003, he received the A.J. Herman Fellowship from the University of Western Australia for enriching their understanding of how to help less fortunate countries improve the dental health of children.

In his retirement Dr. Wright was also busy in London, with Temple Israel, with his weekly hiking group, painting and with daily work outs at the Y. He also logged a lot of miles back and forth to Stratford.

Dr. Wright was an Honourary Member of the Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

(Please see IAPD's November 2019 e-news)

A message from Dr. Raymond Lee, President of CAPD/ACDP 

It was with great sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Zanvil Wright on October 30, 2019.

As we all know, Gerry was truly one of the pioneers and "grandfathers" of Paediatric Dentistry in Canada, and a leader around the World. I, as many of us were, was privileged to have "GZ" as a teacher, colleague and mentor for all these years. I fondly remember when he asked me to his office after clinic in 4th year at the University of Western Ontario. I thought that I was in major trouble for something I said or did, which would not have been surprising. Gerry simply wanted to pull me aside and suggest that I pursue Paedo. You can imagine how that small gesture, on his personal time, made me feel. The encouragement from such a true "giant" was invaluable. That moment and his ongoing support since then has truly shaped my life as I know it. Thank you, sir!

Many of us were at his memorial service in London. It was so Gerry, the north Winnipeg boy. Precise, succinct and orderly on one hand. And loving, sentimental and funny on the other. Gerry is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his three sons, Michael, Charles and Jeffrey, who all spoke so lovingly and eloquently. Gerry had a great life, and I am glad to know that he is resting in peace now.

Thank you GZ. From all of us. RIP my friend.

C’est avec grande tristesse et un serrement au cœur que nous vous informons du décès du Dr Gerald (Gerry) Zanvil Wright le 30 octobre 2019. 

Comme nous le savons tous, Gerry était l’un des véritables pionniers et « grands-pères » de la dentisterie pédiatrique au Canada, un chef de file de renommée mondiale. J’ai eu le privilège, comme bon nombre d’entre nous, d’avoir eu « GZ » comme professeur, collègue et mentor pendant toutes ces années. Je garde un souvenir impérissable du jour où il m’a fait venir à son bureau après sa clinique de quatrième année à l’Université Western Ontario. Je pensais que j’aurais de graves ennuis à cause de ce que j’avais dit ou fait, ce qui n’aurait pas été surprenant. Gerry voulait simplement me prendre à part et me suggérer de poursuivre mes études en dentisterie pédiatrique. Vous pouvez imaginer à quel point ce petit geste tout à fait désintéressé m’a fait plaisir. Cet encouragement de la part d’un tel « géant » était inestimable. Ce moment et son soutien indéfectible par la suite ont vraiment façonné la vie que je mène aujourd’hui. Merci Monsieur Wright !

Nombreux sont ceux d’entre nous qui ont assisté à la cérémonie commémorative à London. C’était tellement à son image, celle du Gerry de Winnipeg Nord : précis, succinct et ordonné d’une part et affectueux, sentimental et amusant d’autre part. Gerry laisse dans le deuil son épouse Nancy et ses trois fils, Michael, Charles et Jeffrey, qui lui ont tous rendu hommage avec amour et éloquence. Gerry a eu une très belle vie, et je suis heureux qu’il repose maintenant en paix.

Merci GZ. De la part de nous tous. Adieu cher ami.

Remembering Dr. Gordon Nikiforuk

Honourary Member of CAPD/ACDP

1922 - July 22, 2019

Dear Members,

We learned last week that Dr. Gordon Nikiforuk, who was made an Honourary Member of the Academy in 2001, passed away last week. We have reprinted the tribute to Dr. Nikiforuk from Daniel Haas, the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto.

In the next issue of The Mirror, CAPD/ACDP will also pay tribute to Dr. Nikiforuk with memories from his colleagues.

CAPD/ACDP shares in the sadness of Dr. Nikiforuk's passing and on behalf of all members, extends sincere condolences to Dr. Nikiforuk's family.


Dr. Raymond Lee, President


Dr. Ross Anderson, Executive Director

In Memoriam: Dr. Gordon Nikiforuk

Dean Daniel Haas, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto

Dear faculty, staff, and instructors,

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that former dean and faculty member Dr. Gordon Nikiforuk passed away last week.

Dr. Nikiforuk graduated with a DDS from the University of Toronto in 1947. He then went on to obtain a Masters of Science degree from the University of Illinois Urbana in 1954, with a specialization in paediatric dentistry. As the specialization was only recognized in the United States in 1947, Dr. Nikiforuk was one of the first to be conferred this specialization degree in North America.

Dr. Nikiforuk returned to the Faculty of Dentistry in January of 1970 as a Professor and Assistant Director of the Post-Graduate Division, Biological Sciences. In July 1970, Dr. Nikiforuk was named Dean of the Faculty, a post he held until 1977. He continued to teach at the Faculty until his retirement in 1989, but returned as an Associate of Dentistry until 1993. Over the years, Dr. Nikiforuk had an enormous impact on the school and generations of students, and even helped champion the creation of U of T’s paediatric dentistry specialization program, the first of its kind in Canada, which began in the early 1960s.

In 1990, Dr. Nikiforuk received the Faculty of Dentistry’s highest honour, the Award of Distinction. In 1997, Colgate-Palmolive Canada Inc. established an award in Dr. Nikiforuk’s honour, in recognition of the vital role he played in teaching preventive dentistry until his retirement in 1989.

Dr. Nikiforuk is survived by his wife Marge and his sons, Chris and Andrew.


Daniel Haas


Remembering Dr. Donald Cheung

September 16, 1939 - October 24, 2017

Dear Members,

CAPD/ACDP regrets to inform you that Dr. Donald Cheung recently passed away suddenly in Montreal. A short time ago he celebrated 50 years as a dentist. He had been a long time member of our Academy and had practiced in Sherwood Park (near Edmonton) and also Vancouver. There will be no funeral.

CAPD/ACDP extends our very sincere condolences to Dr. Cheung’s family, as well as his many friends and associates.

Paul Andrews


On Behalf of the CAPD/ACDP Executive Committee

A tribute from Dr. Dennis Bedard:

I had known Donald since 1976 when he was a part time instructor in the Pedo department at the Faculty of Dentistry, U of A. He taught there for a number of years after graduating from Pedo in 1971, again from the U of A as at that time they had a graduate program in Pedo.

Dr. Cheung on his last trip to Nicaragua

Donald had immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong to attend McGill University to study dentistry. He graduated in 1967 at which time he moved to Alberta. He had a private practice in Sherwood Park, about 15 minutes east of Edmonton. He sold his practice in 2003 and moved to Vancouver where he practiced for another year.

Donald was instrumental in setting up care for the Special needs patients in Edmonton working at Rosecrest Home, a facility for special needs with complicating medical issues. He was also the staff dentist for a number of years at Eric Cormack Centre for special needs adults, again with compromised medical issues. He had a number of special needs patients in his practice.

Donald and I used to travel to AAPD conventions together. We had become very good friends. I asked him if he would be interested in working on one of our dental missions, he said yes. He was 61 at the time. He enjoyed himself and continued to travel with us for 5 years providing dental services to the less fortunate of the country.

Donald was a very fast operator. I remember him at school, preaching that a pediatric dentist’s gift was speed and communication. I did not realize just how fast he was until I saw him doing restorative work in difficult situations in Guatemala. His speed never compromised his results. He was gifted with this talent.

Donald liked to have fun. He had many stories to tell. He was generous with his time and donations. I was honored to have him as colleague and a friend. He will be missed.

Donald is survived by his loving wife, Linda, daughters, Tracy (Kevin), Jennifer (David), stepsons, Scott (Stephanie) and Jarret along with 8 grandchildren.

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