SIEGEL--Samuel R. July 31, 1909 - April 21, 2012 Dr. Siegel had a lifelong commitment to civil rights and social justice. He cared deeply about people both those close to him as well as the disenfranchised, and he made every effort to create a more humane world. Dr. Siegel graduated from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1933, and started his practice in dentistry moving into the field of orthodontics. He pioneered the practice of early childhood intervention, and published two papers in the New York State Dental Journal in 1956 and '59 on his approach. In World War II, Dr. Siegel served as a Captain with the 58th Air Service Group, 5th Air Force from 1943 -l946 with combat service in the Asiatic Pacific Campaign in New Guinea and the Philippines. He was a cofounder of the local branch of The Medical Committee for Human Rights, and went south during the Civil Rights struggle in the 1960s. He and his son, Larry, a Freedom Rider who predeceased him, worked at the same time in the south although in different states: Larry worked on voter registration and Dr Siegel tended to the injured. Upon retiring from private practice in 1968, Dr. Siegel worked for the next 18 years as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Pediatric Dentistry Department at New York University School of Dentistry teaching graduate students in the preventive aspects of early treatment in developing malocclusions. In 1975, Dr. Siegel was invited to Cuba to lecture on early childhood intervention and to visit the Havana School of Stomatology, dental clinics, and training schools throughout the country. His article on his visit was published in Dental Survey: The Journal of Dental Practice in 1975. In 1982 when he was 72, Dr. Siegel was arrested for his act of civil disobedience, joining an antinuclear demonstration in front of the United States Mission to the U.N. He is quoted in the Times of June 15th as saying: "This is my first time for me but I feel that I have to do this for my grandchildren." He treated thousands of patients before his retirement, and arranged a sliding scale of payment or no payment for those with hardships. Dr. Siegel was also an orthodontic consultant to several unions including Local 1199. Throughout his life, Dr. Siegel was a devotee of physical exercise and athletics. He tried out for professional baseball as a very young man, played a fierce game of tennis, liked golf, and bicycled all over New York City until well into his 80s. Four years ago he moved with his wife, Beatrice who also predeceased him, from New York to Maryland to be near his stepdaughter and son-in-law. He never missed his twice -weekly poker games. He is survived by his stepdaughter, Andra; his son-in-law, Jon; his son, Michael; his granddaughter, Julia and her husband Christophe; his granddaughter, Sumi and her husband Max, and his great-granddaughters, Willa and Zoey.
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Published in The New York Times on Apr. 21, 2013