November 20th, 2018
Dr. Gene is a great father, full of truth and wisdom that he wants to share with any who would care to listen. His love of food made meal time a special part of our lives. We would sit for long dinners enjoying all kinds of amazing foods, but more interesting for me was the table talk. The subject could meander from hard work and scholastic discipline, to how to avoid getting into trouble by choosing your friends and activities carefully. He would share time and time again that if you love what you do for a living then you never have to work a day in your life. He loves orthodontics.
Dr. Gene's father was a carpenter, factory foreman and a jack of all trades. His mother a retail sales clerk. He came from humble means and was the first in his family to attend university. Gene always had a drive to achieve academically and had a great work ethic, which he learned from his parents. His parents moved from Decatur to Fort Wayne so that he would have access to education and the possibility of attending Indiana University.
He graduated from Fort Wayne’s North Side High School and spent his first two years at “the extension” in Fort Wayne. He then transferred to IU Bloomington his junior year. (At that time Bloomington was the only place one could complete an undergrad degree.) He spent his summers working on a civil engineering crew, learned quite a bit about engineering, and enjoyed the practical application of his mathematical education.
While in Bloomington, he lived in a house off campus that cost him $1 per day. Included was his breakfast and laundry service in exchange for lawn mowing and snow shoveling. He also worked as a waiter at the Delta Gamma House where he could have his lunch and dinner as part of the work arrangement. He also got special meals in the winter time from the cooks at Delta Gamma in exchange for warming up their cars and scraping off the snow/ice from their windows.
During his time at IU Bloomington, Gene began courting Rosalie Hasewinkle, the daughter of a Fort Wayne physician. She and Gene were friends in high school and grew closer as they fell in love at IU. One Semester Rosalie noticed that Gene would go on study dates with her but never brought any books with him. She asked how he managed to study without any books, and his response was that he had enough money for tuition and his room/board but there wasn’t anything left for books. She proceeded to purchase his books for him that semester and famously proclaimed for the rest of her life that it was one of the best investments she ever made!
Gene graduated from IU Bloomington, and went on to IU School of Dentistry for his DDS, and continued there ultimately earning his MSD in Orthodontics.
Dr. Gene’s work ethic and love of orthodontics helped him become incredibly successful, but it wasn’t easy for him. He moved back to Fort Wayne when he finished school to set up practice, and he learned quickly that there were several other orthodontists who had already established relationships with the referring dentists. It was tough getting started, but he built friendships with dentists, treated the tough cases well, and he made sure his patients had a great experience. He worked long hours, and became one of the first ABO certified orthodontists in the area. After about 5 years the practice finally broke even. A few years later it was obvious that he had established one of the busiest orthodontic practices around! During his career he won the Milo Hellman Award for original research and continued to write several benchmark journal articles. He spent nearly 40 years in private practice, also lecturing, and teaching worldwide.
During this time, Gene and Rosalie traveled the world together, celebrating life with friends and family. They loved to host meals in their home, and often were referred to as the best restaurant in Fort Wayne. They had two sons Eric and Aron - both orthodontists. Sadly, Rosalie passed away March 30, 2007 after a long-fought battle with breast cancer.
Gene is now fully retired from private practice. His family and business legacy are a testimony of his commitment to excellence and hard work! Gene still loves to host meals in his home, spending time with friends, sharing great stories, and fine wines. We are all so very thankful for Dr. Gene!