Herbert T. Shillingburg Jr.
1938 - 2015
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Shillingburg, Herbert T. Jr., D.D.S.



Dr. Herbert T. Shillingburg, a long time resident of Edmond and Oklahoma City, died of cancer on Sunday, July 12 at the age of 77. He is survived by his three daughters, Lisa Shillingburg, Leslie Jones, and Lara Smith, all of Edmond. He also leaves three grandsons, Griffin Jones, Elijah Smith, and Caden Smith, and a granddaughter, Sophie Smith.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 48 years, Constance J. Shillingburg, in 2008.

When the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry was founded in 1972, Dr. Shillingburg was recruited as the chair of the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics, and served in that position until retirement in 2003. He was named David Ross Boyd Professor in 1983 by OU, the title "Emeritus" was added following his retirement. During his time at the College of Dentistry, Dr. Shillingburg served on multiple committees, including acting as the elected chair of the first Curriculum Committee. He designed the college's logo.

He was born on March 21, 1938, to Herbert Shillingburg Sr. and the former Stefi Schuster at Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. He attended the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate and received his D.D.S. degree from the University of Southern California in 1962. After serving in the U.S. Army Dental Corps at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, he returned to practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began his teaching career at the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1967, and became chair of the Fixed Prosthodontics section there in 1970.

In addition to the David Ross Boyd Professorship, Dr. Shillingburg received Outstanding Teaching awards from ten dental classes, the O.U. Associates Distinguished Lecturer in 1988, and Outstanding Professorial Award from the College of Dentistry in 2003. Upon his retirement, the OU Regents established the Herbert Shillingburg Endowed Professorship in Fixed Prosthodontics.

Dr. Shillingburg conducted research and contributed over 80 articles to the dental literature. He served as co-editor and second editor for two different dental journals. He authored five text-books. Fundamentals of Fixed Prosthodontics, first published in 1976. It was a required text in 70% of the dental schools in North America, sold over 80,000 copies, and was translated in seven languages for international distribution. A fourth and final edition was released in 2012. In 1988, Fundamentals of Tooth Preparations was awarded first prize in the Allied Health Category by the American Medical Writers Association.

He presented over 280 lectures in 36 states and 28 countries including invited presentations in 29 dental schools in the United States and abroad. He addressed the annual meetings of six national dental associations. In 1990, he was the recipient of La Medaille de la Ville de Paris (Echelon Argent) when he was the featured speaker at the annual scientific session of the Congres National de L'Association Dentaire Francaise in Paris.

His professional memberships included the Oklahoma State Dental Association, the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, the Academy of Operative Dentistry, the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, the American College of Prosthodontists (honorary), the International Association for Dental Research, Omicron Kappa Upsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, and fellowship in the American College of Dentists.

In 1998 he was the recipient of the George F. Moulton Award of the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics. In 2000 he received the Stephen H. Leeper Award for teaching excellence from the Supreme Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon national dental honorary fraternity. He was also listed in six editions of the Who's Who biographical editions. A bronze bust of Dr. Shillingburg was unveiled and placed within the college upon his retirement.

Herbert Shillingburg was an incredibly intelligent individual, himself an eternal student. He was a talented photographer, writer, and proud of his family's unique heritage. He and his wife traveled extensively together, and with their children and grandchildren. He loved movies, dogs, the Southwest, and could have taught a class on WWII military history. He possessed a sharp sarcastic wit, an incredibly dry sense of humor, and a formidable work ethic and drive for perfection. His family will miss him very much, and will be forever proud of his contributions to his field, and to the lasting impact he had on his students and colleagues.

A memorial service is planned for September 1st at All Souls' Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City at 2 pm.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Free to Live Animal Sanctuary in Edmond, Oklahoma.


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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Jul. 26, 2015.
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10 entries
May 12, 2016
I loved his book. As a dental student of non-English speaking native, learning dentistry in English was quite difficult.However,Due to the outstanding illustrations,diagrams and graphics,studying from his book "Fundamentals of fixed Prosthodontics " was an enjoyment full of knowledge.GOD BLESS HIS SOUL IN PARADISE for all help he has given to the dental students all around the world.Sincerely,Prosthodontist from Saudi Arabia.
Mohammed Asiry
May 8, 2016
My belated condolences,
Even do I never had met in person, but yes his soul thru his writing.
As former Dentist that I'm, Herbert is the role to follow.
His extreme dedication and excellence for the perfection are his trade mark and role to follow by all dentist.

Dear mentor, please, rest in peace!
Dr. Carlos Abreu Girald
September 1, 2015
Dr. Shillingburg has impacted the lives of innumerable dentists in the state of Oklahoma and around the world. He was one the smartest men I have ever met and I will miss him. His legacy will continue in the numerous books he authored and the impact he has had on fixed prosthodontics.
Paul Mullasseril
July 31, 2015
I am but one acquaintance of Herb's but in the few moments we shared I found a comfort in his presence which will be with me forever. Barry Segal, DDS
July 30, 2015
I worked closely under Herb for 18 years. Although he was a few years younger than me I considered him my mentor. Through his encouragement and trust he brought out from me more than I thought was there. He demanded excellence from his staff and perfection from himself.
Beneath his authoritarian demeanor and sharp wit there was a well-hidden layer of humility. While I was collaborating with him on two of his textbooks he welcomed my opinions and accepted many of them.
Aside from his role as a teacher Herb was a historian, philosopher and a good friend. I consider it my great good fortune to have worked with him and am saddened at his passing.

Dick Jacobi (Belton, Texas)
July 27, 2015
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Glenetta Burks
July 26, 2015
As a child I grew up knowing Dr. Shillingburg as one of my father's respected colleagues. It was not until I became an adult that I understood what a respected & prominent reputation he had in the dental community. I still remember the face of a friend of mine who is a dentist who said, "Oh my gosh! You know Dr. Shillingburg?!! " It was the same way that I would have said, "Oh my Gosh! You know Alan Dershowitz?!!" I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Dr. Shillingburg in the past year and going to lunch with him and his dear friend Helen. He was such a pleasure with his funny dry sense of humor. His mind was sharp as a tack. And it was a pleasure to have known the man behind the rock star dental reputation.
Stacey Wiebelt
July 21, 2015
Fixed prosthodontics, dental research and dental education lost a giant in Herb Shillingburg. His concern and caring for his students, his patients and his fellow man was unparalleled. His passing leaves us with a tremendous void, but he would not want us to dwell on such. Rather, we should strive to emulate the grand example he set for us all.
Martin Land
July 16, 2015
Dr. Shillingburg was and is a classic, a legend, and an icon. He garnered the respect of dental students by treating us all the same......pushing us to achieve the highest standards of care in Fixed Prosthodontics. He had the voice of a lion but was approachable as a lamb.
His passion for teaching reached students all over the world with his textbooks. But those of us who had him one-on-one in pre-clinic and on the clinic floor were truly blessed.
But prior to his textbooks and his classroom teaching was his research. Several of his published research articles are considered not just classics but gospel and are on the reading list of every Literature Review class in every Prosthodontic Specialty School in the world.
Yes, Herbert T. Shillingburg, Jr., was a Giant who left a huge footprint on his profession but my respect for him goes beyond all of that.
A few months after his wife, Connie, died I received a card from Dr. Shillingburg, just like many others did I'm sure. And on this card was a poem he had written about his wife. His most recent textbook is dedicated to the memory of Connie and what he wrote about her on the dedication page is truly special.
I've read where the greatest thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. This is the part of that Giant of a man that I respect the most.

J. Robert Reneau DDS, Class of '76, Oklahoma City, OK
July 15, 2015
Great professor. He will be remembered and missed by many.
Shannon Jacobson Williams
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