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1948 - 2020
MARC HEFT Obituary
June 10, 1948 -
February 8, 2020
Marc William Heft died Saturday, February 8 at his longtime home in Gainesville, Florida. Born in 1948 to Jayne and Harold Heft, Marc grew up in Lynbrook, New York, the younger brother of Samuel and older brother of Philip. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering (1970) and D.M.D. (1974) from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.A. (1981) and Ph.D. (1982) in psychology from the American University. After completing a general practice residency at the Baltimore City Hospitals, he was appointed to the Neurobiology & Anesthesiology Branch, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, and later to the Laboratory of Behavioral Sciences, Gerontology Research Center, National Institute on Aging, prior to his appointment to the faculty of the University of Florida in 1984.
His 35 years at the UF College of Dentistry saw a shift early on from the Department of Community Dentistry & Behavioral Science to the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (1987). Director since 1989 of the Claude D. Pepper Center for Oral Health in Aging, the focus of Marc's research and scholarship was aging, including sensory aging and health services research; and pain, including measurement, impact and disparities in care. A member of the McKnight Brain Institute, he also held appointments as Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, UF College of Medicine, and in the Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. He was awarded a University Term Professorship in 2017.
An active member of professional and research bodies of national and international scope, Marc tirelessly advocated for oral health and oral health research, particularly through leadership positions in recent years: he served as President of the International Association for Dental Research (2015-2016), for which he was also Chair and Member of the Board of Directors; and President of the American Association for Dental Research (2007-2008). He was a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and at the Gerontological Society of America, in recognition of his record of research and scholarship. The list of his publications and achievements is long, and it gave him joy to attend professional and scientific meetings on five continents, delivering research presentations and lectures, and avidly participating in discussions with his peers. Marc placed great importance on mentoring students and younger colleagues in his field, and made this a consistent priority over the years. He also served the broader University of Florida community though involvement in governance activities, serving as Faculty Senate Chair and Member of the UF Board of Trustees in 2013-2014.
Marc loved his family immensely: his wife of 45 years, Ann Gary Heft; his children, Adrienne Heft, Sara Heft and Jordan Heft, and daughter-in-law Jessica Heft; and his young grandchildren, Caleb and Malia Heft, are grieving his loss, as are other family members and cherished friends. His kindness, his thoughtful, inquisitive mind, his boundless energy on the tennis court, and the twinkle in his eye will be dearly missed.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Congregation B'nai Israel, 3830 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville with Rabbi David Kaiman officiating. Burial will follow in B'nai Israel Cemetery, at the corner of East University Avenue and Waldo Road.
Marc would have liked for condolences to be expressed in the form of donations to the , 2119 S.W. 16th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608. Please visit his memorial page at
Published in Gainesville Sun from Feb. 11 to Feb. 12, 2020
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