It is with great sadness that we must report the sad passing of Professor Roy Christopher Page, a much loved and highly respected scientist in the periodontal world.
Professor Page was a lifetime Honorary member of the British Society of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry, an accolade which made him immensely proud. The BSP wish to remember Professor Page with great fondness and recognise him for his humanity and incredible contribution to the field of periodontology. His legacy lives on through his students and his published works.
Professor Iain Chapple has kindly written an obituary and personal tribute to Professor Page:
Professor Roy C Page
7th February 1932 – 29th October 2020
The expression, “giant in their field,” is perhaps frequently over-used for people who are truly exceptional in their area of work, but it could not be more apt for Professor Roy Christopher Page. I was shocked to hear from Bonnie and Ken Kornman, when in a taxi to the airport in Istanbul, on the 11th September 2022 (9/11), two years after Roy’s passing, that the periodontal world had lost such a great scientist and such a wonderful human being. They had themselves only recently discovered that Roy had passed away 2-years previously, in Springfield Missouri, where he had moved from Seattle with his wife Patricia, in 2016. Regrettably, Roy had been suffering in his later years from dementia and had disappeared from the periodontal scene, and Patricia had sadly passed away on 17th October 2020, only 12 days before her husband. As the last surviving member of his family, there was no one to convey the incredibly sad news.
Roy was born on a farm, to a farming family, in 1932, in Campobello in South Carolina. He was one of ten children and the first in his family to attend University. The majority of his siblings remained running the family farm, which was a substantial business. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kentucky (Berea College) in 1953 and went on to attain his DDS from the University of Maryland in 1957. He spent time in the U.S. Navy on U.S.S. Randolph, an aircraft carrier, then joined the U.S. Naval Reserves 1964-1978. In his career he practiced general dentistry, as well as private practice, in Seattle 1963-1998, obtaining a specialist Certificate in Periodontology in 1963 and his PhD in 1967, both from the University of Washington. Roy had a huge intellect and a very innovative and enquiring mind, and was awarded a Doctor of Science degree in 1983 from Loyola University in Chicago. He became a Professor of Pathology and Periodontics in Seattle and had a tremendous ability to generate grant funding for his research into the pathogenesis and immunobiology of periodontal diseases, with over $40million in funding during his career. Whilst he is perhaps best known for his work with Hubert Schroeder in defining the immunohistopathology of experimental gingivitis (the initial, early, established and advanced lesions), still pertinent today, his work was pioneering in so many other areas of periodontal immunobiology.
Roy pioneered the PreViser risk assessment system with colleagues, translating his fundamental research into practical application. It was Roy that described for the first time, “rapidly progressive periodontitis,” in 1983, and defined neutrophil and monocyte defects in localised juvenile periodontitis. In 1994, he developed and evaluated early vaccines against P.gingivalis in non-human primates. Roy also developed a cadre of high-quality scientists and explored fibroblast phenotypes in gingival overgrowth, as well as being a key driver of periodontal epidemiology with Paul Eke, establishing case definitions for population surveys of periodontitis prevalence. His achievements are vast and he was showered with awards, including the IADR Distinguished Scientist in Basic Research in Periodontal Diseases, the William Gies Award in 1982, and Worldwide Who's Who Professional of the Year in Medical Research in 2012. Roy served as AADR and IADR President.
I have fond memories of Roy and Patricia staying with Liz and I at our home in 2009, during his last international lecture outing before retirement. I recall being amazed by his love and knowledge of music, opera, literature, fine wines, gastronomy, and, of course, gardening; his passion in early retirement years was his garden in Seattle. Roy Page was an immensely cultured man, generous with his time, kind, humble and a great storyteller. Above all, he was a true gentleman and one of, if not the, greatest periodontal scholars in the history of our discipline. Of course, Roy was a lifetime Honorary member of the British Society of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry, an accolade which made him immensely proud.
The BSP therefore wish to remember Professor Roy Page with great fondness and recognise him for his humanity and incredible contribution to the field of periodontology. His legacy lives on through his students and his published works.