Dr. Jack S. Opinsky dies Oct. 1
West Hartford, Conn.—Dr. Jack S. Opinsky, a past trustee from ADA’s 1st District (1985-91), died Oct. 1 from complications of a fall. He was 83 years old.
Friends and colleagues are remembering Dr. Opinsky as a dedicated community servant, hard-working volunteer for the benefit of the dental profession and dental education, and a dear friend.
“Jack was a committed and dedicated dental professional who had big dreams and ambitions, and fulfilled many of them to the betterment of dentistry, both locally and nationally,” said his friend of more than 50 years, Dr. Howard I. Mark. “There was never anything too small or too large relative to dentistry that Jack did not play a role in.”
Dr. Opinsky was president of the Connecticut State Dental Association and the Hartford Dental Society and a member of the CSDA Legislative Council—remaining actively involved in legislative initiatives throughout his career. The Dental Society of Greater Waterbury presented him with its highest honor for service, the Daniel Lynch Achievement Award. On the national level, he was a member of the House of Delegates and a fellow of the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and Pierre Fauchard Academy.
In the 1960s, Dr. Opinsky was part of a group that was responsible for founding the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He later became a member of the dean’s advisory group, a UConn trustee and clinical instructor in general dentistry.
Politics and the 1st Connecticut Governor’s Foot Guard were two of his passions, said Dr. Mark. A lifelong Democrat, Dr. Opinsky “knew everyone, and he was everywhere he could be to help out.” He was also a captain in the Foot Guard, one of the state’s official military units, which posthumously promoted him to the rank of major.
Most of all, said Dr. Mark, “he cared deeply about people and showed it in the path he took,” which included leadership in community organizations such as the West Hartford Public Health Commission and the Probus Club, an organization of business owners dedicated to helping people who have intellectual and physical challenges. “He set the bar high for those who followed,” said Dr. Mark.
Dr. Opinsky served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and later the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He learned to cook in the Navy and was known to say, “I can only cook for 200.” After the war, he pursued undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut and received his dental degree from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa College of Dentistry).
Services were held Oct. 3 in Hartford. Dr. Opinsky is survived by Phyllis, his wife of 59 years; son Martin; daughters Jami and Heidi; a daughter-in-law, two sons-in-law; and four grandchildren. Contributions can be made to: The Opinsky Scholarship Fund, UConn School of Dental Medicine, c/o University of Connecticut Health Center, Office of Development, 10 Talcott Notch Road, Suite 100, Farmington, CT 06032.