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Dr. Robert F. Brigante Passes Away

June 14, 2011

BriganteLongtime UCSF School of Dentistry faculty member Dr. Robert F. Brigante passed away after a brief illness on May 21, 2011.

Born in Santa Ana, CA on November 28, 1923, he learned his love of dentistry assisting in his father's dental lab. During the Second World War the US Navy sent him to the UCSF School of Dentistry, beginning a lifelong association with the School. In 1947, after completing the accelerated V12 program, Dr. Brigante was commissioned Lt. Junior Grade and stationed in San Diego. At this time he was also inducted into The Pacific Coast Society of Prosthodontists, an important milestone in his professional career in prosthetic dentistry.

He returned to the Bay Area in 1952 to join the UCSF Dentistry faculty, fulfilling Dean Willard Fleming's prophesy on his graduation: "you will be back". He also began a private practice in Berkeley, partnering with his friend and colleague Dr. Robert Ware, with valuable assistance from Diane Proto. A popular professor who taught prosthetic dentistry to thousands of students, as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs under Dean Ben Pavone in the 1970's, his proudest accomplishment was his work helping create the Minority Program which actively recruited students from groups underrepresented in dentistry.

One of his happiest times was his six-month sabbatical in Florence, Italy in 1979, where he studied the aging process as depicted by the great Renaissance artists.

After retiring from UCSF in 1993, he continued as an active professor emeritus in the Post-Graduate Prosthetics program. In 2000 he retired from his private practice also, and though he sold his Berkeley office but still carefully maintained the office garden, a hobby he loved.

He had many interests outside of his work, and one of his most enduring passions was sailing. He was a founding member of the South Beach Yacht Club and, with his partner Chuck Eliason, spent many happy hours on the San Francisco Bay and waters beyond. He also loved traveling, and with his wife, Linda, family and friends, boated through the many canals of England and France, traveled frequently to his beloved Italy, and explored many other parts of the world. He loved touring California's back roads. But he was happiest at home in San Francisco, where he could be found most afternoons walking his devoted dog, Arena, around the tennis courts of Golden Gate Park.

This kind and gentle man will be missed by all who knew him.

Pre-deceased by beloved son Ross, he is survived by his wife of 37 years, Linda Coda, and their son Nicko (Johanna); and additionally by two children from his first marriage to Marjorie Burrows: Bebe (Dan Haut) and Lindy Bixby (Robert); five grand children and three great grand daughters; and by three step children from his union with Dorae Diamond: Will, Wendy (Michael Kelley) and Nancy (David Hankin), and their four children. He was a great friend to his father-in-law Leo; and 'Uncle Bob' to Linda's large extended family.

A private memorial will be held in Santa Ana on June 24, 2011, and a celebration of his life will be held at a date to be announced.

Adapted from an obituary posted to SFGate.com.

Pictured: (above) Dr. Brigante, left, and a dental student in clinic, 1955; (below) in World Series regalia at the UCSF Dental Center, October, 2010.

Link: Full obituary (sfgate.com)