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Dr. Robert Doerr (1921-2014)

Ann Arbor, MI — September 22, 2014 — Dr. Robert Doerr, who led the University of Michigan School of Dentistry as interim dean from 1981 to 1982 and served in other leadership roles during his 37-year career, passed away September 19 in Traverse City, Michigan.  He was 93.

Doerr’s association with the University of Michigan began in 1946 when he was accepted as a dental student.  He earned his DDS in 1950 and a master’s degree in operative dentistry three years later.  He established a part-time private practice and was a full-time instructor at the School, teaching operative dentistry.  He was promoted to assistant professor in 1953, associate professor in 1957, and professor in 1961. 

In September 1962, Dean William Mann appointed Doerr associate dean.  In 1981-82, he was appointed interim dean, leading the School through a transition after Mann’s retirement.  He served as interim dean until July 1, 1982, when Dr. Richard Christiansen became dean.  Doerr returned to his post as associate dean that year.  He began his retirement furlough in January 1986 and formally retired a year later.

One of the major events that took place when Doerr was at the School of Dentistry was the planning and construction of a new dental building.  During the 1960s, he and Mann spent countless hours planning and coordinating the construction of the “new” School of Dentistry building on North University Avenue which was dedicated in October 1971.  As interim dean, Doerr led planning for reductions in the School’s class sizes and appropriations from the State due to an oversupply of dentists within the state and nationally. 

In addition to serving on numerous School of Dentistry and University of Michigan committees, Doerr was also president of the Michigan Dental Association (1981-1982); president of the American Association of Dental Editors (1980-1981) and editor of the Journal of the Michigan Dental Association (1972-1980). 

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, September 26, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 Sixth St., Traverse City.  The funeral is Saturday, September 27, at 11:00 a.m., at the Central United Methodist Church, 222 Cass St., Traverse City.