Robert C. Brackett, D.D.S., J.D., a 1957 graduate of (Tom S.) Lubbock High School (Texas), passed away peacefully on March 11 after a long illness, in his home near Chicago. He was 73. Born on July 16, 1939, in Fort Worth, Dr. Brackett attended Texas Tech University before joining the U.S. Army
, where he completed a distinguished tour of duty in then-divided Germany. Following his honorable discharge from service, he returned to Texas, attending the University of Houston and the University of Texas
School of Dentistry in Houston. He then completed a periodontal residency and fellowship under Dr. Anthony Gargiulo at Loyola University Dental School in 1969, and followed up the next year with a Master of Science degree in Oral Biology, also from Loyola. He remained in Chicago, establishing and running a large periodontal practice in Park Ridge and Downers Grove, during which time he pioneered several groundbreaking procedures. His interests were wide, leading him to graduate from the Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1987, with admittance to the Illinois Bar that same year. For several years he practiced both dentistry and law with his dental partner, Robert C. Poulsom, D.D.S. He was a founder of the law firm, Brackett, Poulsom, Bretcher, and Wirth (later Brackett, Poulsom, and Associates). In his law career, at least one of his appeals changed Illinois law. He was one of seven distinguished Chicago lawyers appointed as editors for the debut of Shepard's Illinois Tort Reporter
. He also co-authored a chapter in Clark's Clinical Dentistry, and lectured on numerous occasions to medical professionals on medical and dental malpractice. Unsatisfied with the state of dentistry, which he viewed as too reactive, as opposed to proactive, he and Dr. C. A. Amenta founded The American Society of Preventive Dentistry in 1968, which quickly grew to be the largest dental organization in the U.S. Dr. Brackett served as the society's second president. He is quoted in "6000 Words," the 1976 supplement to Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary, as being the first person to employ in print the noun, "floss," as an intransitive verb, e.g. to floss one's teeth. All of his years in Illinois failed to disguise his Texas heritage. He unconsciously retained his accent, and wore cowboy boots to work every day. He was friendly, outgoing, and absolutely principled and honest to a fault. He enjoyed golf, reading, cars, and growing roses. He was beloved by his patients as well as his legal clients. He is survived by his loving wife, Joyce "Joy", three sons -- Eric, Bismarck (Stephanie), and Ken (Sandy) Welsch, daughter Kimberly Bentel (Rich), brother, Boone (Andrea), mother-in-law, Fran (Cacioppo) Lombardo, and fourteen grandchildren. A private memorial gathering is planned. Memorial donations may be made to the
. He was bigger than life, cut a wide swath, and he will be fondly remembered by and sorely missed by all who were privileged to know him.