Dr. Theodore V. (Sy) Symanski


A Century of Memories

Fond rememberances from MCDS colleagues who worked with him


Our profession is diminished by the passing away of Dr. Theodore Symanski. Sy was the heart and soul of MCDS for over 75 years. His devotion to the ethics and professionalism of dentistry was his signature and his legacy. When confronted with unethical behavior, Sy would bristle, rant and rave (you knew this wasn't merely an issue with Sy, but a passion).

For many years Sy adroitly administered and registered the NJDA House of Delegates. Since a meeting couldn't be official without a properly constitutional quorum, Sy started each meeting with his pronouncement, “There is a Quorum in the Forum!”

Sy retired from the army with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He served in WWI, WWII, and the Korean war.

We shall all miss this man who dedicated his life to organized dentistry. He is a National Treasure of Dentistry and is truly irreplaceable. I hope that Sy's legacy is as a role model to encourage dentists to devote time and energy to organized dentistry.

Dr. Harmon Katz

Sy collecting newspapers for the Lions Club in 1994
Since 1947 . . . there have been meetings - our regular monthly meetings and the Board of Trustees meeting - of which records were kept by Sy. He had been the right hand man for every President, officer and committee chairman. He had been the sole editor and publisher of our newsletter. He had been the administrator for some of our insurance programs.

Who can forget the many dinners for which he shad been the master of ceremonies. Who could forget his scientific dissertations on the evolution of caries through the ages and other important and timely topics.

Aside from his devotion to our component, Sy served on various committees of the NJDA and the ADA. He served on the NJ State Board of Dentistry, is a past President of that organization and served as a consultant for the Northeast Regional Boards. Recognizing the tremendous contribution that Sy made to dentistry, I am proud and pleased to honor and remember him for his many years of dedicated service to us.

DR. EDWIN SVED-- Retired Life Member (modified excerpt from 1980 tribute to Sy)

Sy at Camp Wheeler, GA in WWII
Sy back in the States
after WWII
The first time I met Sy, he was my examiner when I took the New Jersey Board exam. There was no NERB exam in 1968. The exam was given at the old Seton Hall Dental School and the examiners were the members of the State Board of Dentistry.

When Sy came around, there was always a smile on his face. He knew that everyone was under a lot of stress. I believe that in his heart he wanted to pass every one of us. When he came near us the fellow in the next chair said to me, "that's Dr. Symanski, he's easy". I don't believe that he was "easy" or that he would accept any piece of work that was presented to him. What I do believe was that Sy knew that we all could pass the exam if given a fair chance, and he was the one that was there to give us that chance.

Back in the old days" it was customary to have a dinner dance at the end of the year. This was to honor the outgoing President and to install the incoming officers. It was in the year that Sy was to celebrate his 85th birthday that we decided to take this opportunity to also honor him for his years of service to the Middlesex County Dental Society. We collected money from the members and presented Sy with a check in the amount of $4000.

Since I organized this tribute, Sy sent me a note of thanks, saying it was one of the most “wonderful nights of my life”. You see, the major part of his life was Middlesex and the Members of our dental society. He truly loved Dentistry as well as all of us. He will be missed.

Dr. Joel Leizer

Sy on duty in Europe during WWII
On duty in Europe during WWII



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