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1937 Gary 2022

Gary Milton Whitford

March 9, 1937 — February 18, 2022

Gary M. Whitford, PhD, DMD, Regents Professor Emeritus of Oral Biology in the College of Dental Medicine at Augusta University, formerly the Medical College of Georgia, passed away at age 84 on Friday February 18, 2022. He is predeceased by his parents, Bernice and Milton Whitford, brother, Brent Whitford, and daughter, Julie Boyle. He is survived by his sister, Brenda Ghassemi (Masood), as well as six children, six grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

Gary was born on March 9, 1937, in Gouveneur, NY. He graduated from Moriah High School in 1954. He served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957 and was deployed to Korea. He received three degrees from the University of Rochester, including a Bachelor of Science in General Studies in 1965, a Master of Science in Radiation Biology in 1969, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Toxicology in 1971. In 1972, he was recruited to the Medical College of Georgia to serve as part-time faculty while also pursuing his DMD, which he earned in 1975. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Finland in 1997. He served on the faculty of The Dental College of Georgia from 1972 until his retirement in 2011. He returned immediately to a rehired-retiree faculty position and was actively lecturing and consulting until the time of his passing. He was proud to say that he was on faculty for 50 years.

Gary was a world-renowned fluoride researcher. He analyzed fluoride in body fluids and hard tissues and developed therapeutic fluoride for anti-cavity benefits without impairing tooth enamel. Among his many accomplishments and honors, he served for decades as a fluoride metabolism consultant to numerous organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Dental Association, and the Pan American Health Organization. He was a fluoride metabolism consultant to Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Sweden. He received numerous National Institutes of Health grants as well as multi-year CDC contracts to study fluoride analysis. He was a member of the ADA’s Expert Panel for clinical recommendations on Infant Formula and Fluoride. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious GHSU Research Institute Lifetime Achievement Award. He is remembered fondly by his students and colleagues for his quick wit and intelligent humor.

At his request, a private family service will be held. Donations in his honor to the Golden Harvest Food Bank and The American Cancer Society are greatly appreciated.

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