Amherst Magazine

Edwin C. Van Valey '47

Deceased March 14, 2014

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50th Reunion

47 Edwin Van Valey.jpgAfter graduation I continued one more year with Oscar Schotte, doing research in tissue regeneration. This laid the groundwork for my DDS at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1947 I was married, and in 1949 my daughter, Barberie, was born. In 1950 I joined my father in the practice of dentistry. It was a great opportunity to learn, though unfortunately short, since he died the following year. In 1952, my son, Ted, was born. The Army called in 1956, and West Point was my dental office for two years. My marriage ended in 1959. My practice was reactivated in Rockefeller Center in 1958, where I practiced until October, 1995.

My dental activities led to the office of Secretary, and then President, of the American Association of Endodontists. During my years as an officer, endodontics was recognized by the ADA as a special area of dentistry. Although a Diplomate in endodontics, my practice remained one dedicated to families. Now I'm not too sure that every tooth should be saved, that it might be better health-wise to have the tooth extracted. I wrote the introduction to "Root Canal Cover-Up," which should be read by everyone before having root canal therapy. I have been active over the years in the International Academy of Preventive Medicine, the New York Academy of Dentistry, and other dental-related organizations. I am a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. In 1968 I became a member of Rotary International.

Sailing was a passion with me and my wife, Ruth, who I married in 1960. Racing was a way of life, first with a 20' Highlander (given to Amherst), then with a 32-foot cruising sailboat. Our sailing home was on the Hudson at Ossining, where the river is wide and the sunsets spectacular. In the 1960s a sailboat called a 420 burst on the scene as an ideal boat for junior sailors. Our yacht club formed the first large, active fleet in this country. I became president of the US 420 Association and introduced the boat to colleges and yacht club junior sailing programs. Yale University purchased a fleet which was later sold to the Amherst Sailing Team. We have wonderful memories of international racing and have formed some great friendships with sailors from all over the world. I am a life member of Shattemuc Yacht Club, a member of the New York Yacht Club since 1963, and now a member of the Red Hook Boat Club.

In 1978 we moved from Westchester and bought an 1816 farm house in Red Hook, NY, about 100 miles from the city. Sailing is on the back burner as I write this, and that means the boats are behind the barn. We have spent a considerable amount of time restoring our house and adding some new features. We added and connected a 22' x 30' barn which is now our "everything" room. The loft has now become a dental office at home, with a chair elevator going up the stairs. Dentistry is too much fun to give up, and practice in Red Hook is much more relaxing than Rockefeller Center.

I finally achieved grandfather status on December 12, 1994, when Grace Van Valey was born. She'll be the first woman elected President of the United States! Perhaps Grace will straighten us out by getting rid of the Federal Reserve System and placing us back on the gold standard.

47 Edwin Van Valey 2.jpg


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