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Dr. Harold Walter Hargis

1925 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Dr.  Harold Walter Hargis Obituary
Dr. Harold Walter Hargis died in his Los Angeles home on November 17, 2015, at the age of 90. He was an Emeritus Professor, at the UCLA School of Dentistry at the time of his passing. He was noted for his integrity, passion for teaching and refinements of surgical techniques in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS).
Dr. Hargis was born in Bluefield, West Virginia on June 11, 1925, the second oldest of Thomas and Mary Clare Hargis' six children. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1945 and worked as a mechanic on a minesweeper in the Atlantic Ocean.
He attended Howard University (HU) via the GI Bill, and received a Liberal Arts B.S. in 1951. During his undergraduate years he played on the wrestling and football teams, and joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He also met and married Mary Frances Diggs in 1953 while they were at Howard. In 1955 he earned a DDS from Howard University's School of Dentistry. Dr. Hargis entered the U.S. Army Dental Corps as a first lieutenant in 1955. He did post-graduate work at the University of Illinois, and completed an oral surgery residency program at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, CO. He began a fellowship in 1968, to train in Zurich Switzerland with Dr. Hugo Obwegeser, who pioneered intraoral reconstructive surgeries including intraoral repair of mandibular fractures. Dr. Hargis also worked with Dr. Bernard Tessier, a prominent craniofacial surgeon. In Zurich, Dr. Hargis first learned to perform a procedure called the mandibular sagittal osteotomy.
In 1969 Dr. Hargis was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where he began to teach colleagues the sagittal osteotomy. Over his career he would continue to refine the technique, and teach it to generations of oral surgeons and OMS residents. He also invented various surgical instruments that are still utilized nationwide. He is credited with coining the term orthognathic surgery.
In 1972 Dr. Hargis was awarded the Legion of Merit when he retired from the US Army after 17 years of service, at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Dr. Hargis joined the UCLA School of Dentistry faculty in 1972. During his career at UCLA he was Chairman of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Director of the OMS Clinic, and Residency Director of the OMS program. He also served on national committees of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and was an examiner for the American Board of Maxillofacial Surgery.
Dr. Hargis retired from UCLA in 1993 but continued to teach dental students as a voluntary faculty member. He insisted that any monies he made through the intramural faculty practice were to be donated to an education fund for OMS residents.
In 2006 the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons honored him with the Daniel M. Laskin Award for Outstanding Predoctoral Educator. The California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons dedicated the 2009 meeting to him in recognition of ""Extraordinary service and contributions to the specialty of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery"". The UCLA School of Dentistry named Dr. Hargis Honorary Alumnus of the Year in 2009. In 2010 he received the Faculty Recognition Award in Education from the National Dental Association.
Dr. Hargis was preceded in death by his beloved wife Mary Frances Diggs Hargis, and his daughters Carolyn Hargis Hauschildt, and Lisa Andrea Hargis, and his siblings Ruth, Thomas, Ernest, Alese, and William. He is survived by his daughters Cherie Hargis, M.D., and Coletta Hargis, M.D., nieces and nephews, including Bonnita Hargis, Fayette Mack, Ronald Eans, Carolyn Eans, Candice Clay, Brenda Diggs Mauss, Sheila Diggs, and many grandnieces and grandnephews. He also leaves his brother-in-law, Walter P. Diggs, sister-in-law Thelma G. Diggs, a son-in-law, Dr. Eberhard Hauschildt, and a host of esteemed friends and colleagues..
The UCLA campus flag west of Pauley Pavilion was lowered to half-staff on January 7, 2016 in honor of Dr. Hargis, at the request of Chancellor Gene Block. The UCLA School of Dentistry has scheduled a memorial service and reception on Saturday, January 9, 2016 from 11 am-1 pm at the UCLA Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium, 635 Charles Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095. For further information please call (310) 206-6063.
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that donations may be made in memory of Dr. Harold Hargis in support of the UCLA Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Alumni & Friends Endowed Chair Fund. Please make checks payable to ""The UCLA Foundation"" and mail to the following address: 10833 Le Conte Ave., 53-038 CHS Los Angeles, CA 90095. To donate by credit card, please call (310) 206-6063.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 8, 2016
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