Dentist personalized experience for each patient
At his retirement three years ago, Dr. Jack Rickard's wife presented him with a scrapbook containing thank-you notes from generations of dental patients.
“I was utterly amazed at the outpouring of love for him from his patients when he retired,” said his daughter, Karen Funk of Randolph, N.J. “They were so sad he wasn't going to be their dentist anymore.”
Dr. Jack R. Rickard of Mt. Lebanon died Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in ManorCare Health Services in Green Tree. He was 76.
He was born in Charleroi to Robert and Valeria Rickard. His father worked for Corning Gas Co., and his mother called bingo games, especially at the fire hall.
He graduated from Westminster College and obtained a dentistry degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
“He always wanted to be his own boss, and he was good in science. He didn't want to be a doctor because of the hours,” said his wife of 53 years, Harriet Rickard.
After dental school, he served in the Army in Landshut, Germany, for three years.
He ran his one-man office on Peermont Avenue in Dormont for 44 years.
“He was the kind of dentist that knew all his patients, knew about their families,” his wife said.
Forgoing a hygienist and receptionist, he took patients' files home after work and filled out insurance claims and wrote letters to patients on his Smith Corona typewriter. He never computerized his office.
He sent hand-written appointment reminders to all his patients, even his wife and adult children.
“When I found that he did it to his own wife, I found that hilarious,” Funk said.
A devoted father, grandfather and avid sports fan, he attended his children's athletic events, cheerleading meets and band trips, and his grandchildren's games. He was a season ticket holder for Mt. Lebanon football for 45 years and for Pitt football for 41 years.
He met his wife at Westminster College. Two of his children went to Westminster, but Funk went to Penn State.
“It killed him a little bit inside to have to write those checks to Pennsylvania State University because he was a Pitt alum,” she said with a laugh.
A trumpet player from high school through college, he had a collection of 5,000 CDs of jazz, big bands and Christmas music.
In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include a son, Robert of New Wilmington; another daughter, Rebecca, of Beechview; a sister, Olive Konick, of Bridgeville; and three grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon. A memorial service will be held in Sunset Hills United Presbyterian Church at a later date. Interment will be private.
The family asks that memorials be in the form of contributions to Sunset Hills United Presbyterian Church, 900 Country Club Drive, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15223; Westminster College, 319 S. Market St., New Wilmington, PA 16172; or a charity of one's choice.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.