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Oskar SYKORA

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Oskar SYKORA Obituary
DR. OSKAR PAUL SYKORA MA, CDT, DDS, Ph.D., FADI We regret to announce the passing of our dear husband, father and grandfather on October 13, 2018. Oskar was born in 1929 in Náchod, Czechoslovakia. His family had to flee after the 1948 communist coup d'état to avoid persecution, arriving to Canada, in 1949. He started to work in a Montreal textile factory, took evening courses to learn English and to obtain a BA. Eventually, working as a dental technician apprentice he received a CDT certificate and won the first prize for the highest provincial standing in the study of Dental Technology and completed evening studies at the U. de Montréal with an MA (magna cum laude). In 1959, he graduated in the morning with a DDS degree from McGill U., Faculty of Dentistry (Lieutenant Governor Gold Medal) and, in the afternoon, with a Ph.D. degree from U. de Montréal, Faculté des Lettres. There he met Prime Minister Diefenbaker and was invited to represent New Canadians with thirty-three other Canadians representing different segments of society to a State dinner given in Ottawa on Dominion Day at the Rideau Hall by the Governor General Vincent Massey for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. At McGill he became an Associate Professor in Removable Prosthodontics and was appointed as an Assistant (OPD) at the Montreal General Hospital. In 1972, he left Montreal for Halifax to teach at Dalhousie University. He retired after 43 years of service in 2002, at the age of 73, as a Professor of Prosthodontics from academic career and private practice. Active in North America and Europe with his research, presentations and writings, his magnum opus is his book Maritime Dental College and Dalhousie Faculty of Dentistry: A History, "the most comprehensive history yet published on any of the country's 10 dental schools" and was recommended to all who like "to understand the history of dental education in North America." He was on the Editorial Board of The Quintessence of Dental Technology Yearbook, Charter member of the Canadian Academy of Prosthodontics, member of the European Prosthodontic Association, appointed to co-chairmanship at the Scientific session of the 4th European Conference on the treatment of total edentulism, represented Canada at the First International Symposium on Removable Partial Dentures, nominated to the Comité scientifique du 5e Colloque europeén sur le traitement des édentation completes, and nominated to represent Dentistry in the Association of Health Sciences, Archives & Museums of Nova Scotia. In 1999, he was honoured to become a Fellow in the Academy Dentistry International (FADI) "In recognition of worthy contribution to the advancement of Dentistry worldwide." To him it was not how long one lives but how one lives and he was happy to perform dental work gratis for new refugees or needy students, remembering the difficulties at the beginning of his exile. He was an accomplished tennis player, enjoyed listening or going to the opera and reading books by Toynbee, Gibbon, Capek, Tolstoy, and Agatha Christie. He loved to explore with his wife faraway places as Nicaea, Serengeti or Bali, river boating Amazon to Manaus or Irrawady to Mandalay, to see the bridge on the river Kwai or trek to the Victoria Falls. In his "retirement" he undertook to write the genealogy of the Sykora family from 1628 and to describe their lives and times over the centuries. The work was well received and requested by the Canadian Museum of Immigration and Czech archivists in Chrudim, Zbiroh and Náchod. Oskar's life was an interesting journey but his main love, joy and pride was always his family, his wife, Christine (Jay); children: son, Jan (Christine); daughter, Claire (Paul); son, Christian (Erika) and grandchildren, Erik and Niklas, Olivia, and Ava and Sofia. They all made his life meaningful and happy. Messages to the family can be sent to: [email protected]
Published in The Globe and Mail from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, 2018
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