The Mirror, December 2019 The Mirror December 9, Rev Dec 9 - Page 22
DR. GORDON NIKIFORUK
At the age of 96 year’s one of Canada’s most distinguished Pediatric Dentists,
Gordon Nikiforuk, died on July 22, 2019 as a result of complications from
Parkinson’s Disease. Gordon was the sixth of nine children born on a farm in
Redfield Saskatchewan in a Ukrainian environment. A career in teaching,
academia and dental research took him far from these rural roots
Following pre-dental training in Saskatchewan, he transferred to the University
of Toronto and later did post-graduate studies at the University of Illinois on a
Wrigley Gum Scholarship.
In 1950 he married Margaret Nokleberg, a public health nurse from Wisconsin. He is survived by two sons
Andrew and Chris.
After teaching at the University of Toronto, Gordon served as a professor of Pediatric Dentistry and later as
acting dean at UCLA. In 1970 he became Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto.
On a personal note, I completed my pediatric dental training in 1968 and I was very early into my own teaching
and research career when Gordon became Dean of the Faculty. As a result, he had a huge role as a mentor
and advisor both to me and others like me who were just beginning their academic careers. His availability and
down to earth advice were both a reflection of his farming roots and his dedication to academia and research.
A dean’s lot straddles the unenviable tasks of fiscal responsibility of running a faculty and keeping both
academic and support staff happy. The approachability and diplomacy with which Gordon carried out these
duties are a credit to his commitment to excellence.
The end of his term as Dean and eventual, what was then, compulsory retirement from Faculty at age 65, did
not spell the end of commitment to the profession. For many years he was the editor of ‘The Oral Care Report’
a Colgate newsletter distributed to 250,000 dentists. It was also a pleasure to see him at CAPD and OSPD
meetings where he and like colleagues would retire to a convenient bar for a good natter over a beer or two.
Conversations would range from Dentistry, family and how to put the world to rights.
The profession of Dentistry, particularly Pediatric Dentistry was indeed fortunate to have Gordon Nikiforuk as
one of its shining lights for so many years. May he rest in Peace.