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For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 69, No. 11
ISSN: 1488-2159
December 2003


Douglas Wright Stoneman DDS, FRCD(C)

• A Tribute by Dr. John McComb •

It is a solemn joy to reflect on the life of Dr. Doug Stoneman, who died suddenly on the 7th of November 2003 in his 82nd year.

Doug graduated from the University of Toronto in 1945and became a Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force Dental Corps' "Rainbow Squadron" until 1946. He then entered private practice in Toronto and began teaching part-time in Oral Radiology at the faculty there in 1957, where he remained until he was recruited to the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Western Ontario as Chairman of the Division of Oral Radiology in 1967.

Doug was highly regarded and much missed when he returned to Toronto in 1970 to teach Oral Radiology full-time in the Faculty of Dentistry under Dr. Guy Poyton. Doug was promoted to Professor in 1977 and then to Chair and Director of the postgraduate programme in Oral Radiology in 1978. He retired in 1987 as Professor Emeritus after a distinguished academic career, during which he was the author or co-author of more than 100 papers and book reviews. Doug remained active, teaching and consulting at Toronto General Hospital until the SARS outbreak in the spring of 2003. He was also a vital force at The Hospital for Sick Children until his death. In these positions, he continued to influence profoundly his fellow staff, dental interns and students.


Biographical details fail to convey Doug's impact on his specialty and on all who knew him. Many colleagues had the privilege of working with him and learning from him for over 30 years at the universities and hospitals; many of Doug's contemporaries enjoyed him for much longer. He inspired countless students with his enthusiasm and his ability to transmit, along with his own vast knowledge, the observations, insights and clinical principles introduced to the field by his mentor, the late Dr. H.M. Worth. Doug had the ability to engross interns and students with his wit, wisdom and gentle guidance.

There was often an age gap of up to two gener-ations, yet he made each student feel like a valued friend.

Many such individuals were inspired to enter Oral Radiology or developed a lasting interest in the subject, even if they entered another field of practice — all because of Doug.

He had a keen intellect and always sought to uncover the vital fragment of information that revealed a more complete understanding of the picture of human disease. He freely shared these quests with others and created a rare blend of fun and exploration. Doug was quintessentially a modest man who had little time for self-importance, pomp or presumption. Yet he countenanced these frailties in others with gentle amusement, rather than anger or frustration.

Doug's passing will be mourned by many. His sense of humour and the twinkle in his eye will be missed acutely. Lucy and their family shared his company with us long after they had the right to expect him to remain at home. He will leave a void that we can try to fill by preserving forever the example set by his life, the essence of which was a delight in knowledge and discovery, unfailing civility, humour and warmth.

Never have I known an individual who inspired such universal respect and affection among those who knew him. We will each remember Doug in our own way, but a number of us who were privileged to know him will always be able to conjure up the joy of his friendship with memories of the aroma of single malt scotches shared in the past and with those future private, silent toasts to a full life, well lived.


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