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Remembering Dr. John I. Ingle

John I. Ingle, D.D.S., M.S.D. (1919-2017):
A Pioneer and a Leader in Endodontics

The AAE regrets to announce the passing of beloved past president and endodontic legend Dr. John I. Ingle, on Sept. 25, 2017, in San Diego. He was predeceased by his wife, Joyce Ledgerwood Ingle, who died March 8, 2014. They had been married for nearly 74 years and leave three children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A pioneer, educator and international leader in the field of endodontics, Dr. Ingle is widely known for his authoritative textbook, “ENDODONTICS,” first published in 1965. The textbook, now called “Ingle’s ENDODONTICS,” is in the process of being published in its seventh edition. A Diplomate and founding member of the American Board of Endodontics, Dr. Ingle served as president of the AAE from 1966-1967. He received the AAE’s Ralph F. Sommer Award in 1987 and the Edgar D. Coolidge Award, the AAE’s highest honor, in 1999. He was honored by the AAE General Assembly at the Annual Session in 2015.

Dr. Ingle’s life was, of course, devoted to endodontics, but being a great-grandson of the pioneer Daniel Boone from Tennessee, he found time to also enjoy living an eventful life. In dental school, he befriended Cheddi Jagan, who, after graduation, went back to British Guyana to help push the British out and become the country’s first president. More locally, Dr. Ingle mixed with many leaders, including Willie Brown, former California Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor, with whom he was honored by the Black Dentists of Southern California. His friendship with Walt Disney is described in the DVD mentioned above. In 1973, shortly after President Nixon’s trip to China, Dr. Ingle participated in an elite delegation of American health scientists and educators on a study tour of China under a new exchange program.

The impact that Dr. Ingle has had on colleagues around the world is evidenced by some of the many comments that have been made:

Jens O. Andreasen, Copenhagen, Denmark: The endodontic world has lost a great innovator and inspirational educator. The first dental book I bought was “Endodontics” in 1965, and it became a great experience to get so many aspects of endodontics presented in such an illustrative way.

Rafael Miñana, Spain: His yellow book on endodontics has been my guide during my years of practice and teaching in Spain. Thank you very much, John.

James D. Johnson, University of Washington, Seattle: I fell in love with endodontics by reading Dr. Ingle’s first edition of the textbook “ENDODONTICS.” Little did I know as a sophomore dental student at Northwestern that we would interact in the future.

Harold Slavkin, former dean, University of Southern California: John hired me as a new assistant professor in 1968 and thereafter served as my mentor and unconditional supporter for many decades to follow. He repeatedly said, “You make me proud.”

Terryl A. Propper, Brentwood, Tenn.: The fondest memory I have of Dr. Ingle is when the AAE honored him in Seattle 2015. He graciously accepted the honor and when the program ended, a line formed to greet him. I thought to myself, “At age 95, Ingle still draws a crowd!”

Steve Cohen, San Francisco: John, a highly accomplished modest man from the Greatest Generation, exemplified what it means to be a gentleman and a scholar. John’s big heart was often shown by his empathy and compassion. We mourn the loss of a great leader!

Mahmoud Torabinejad, Loma Linda, Calif.: As a graduate of the University of Washington I owe my career to the vision and wisdom of teachers like Dr. John Ingle.

Richard E. Walton, University of Iowa: Dr. Ingle was my mother’s periodontist about 60 years ago. He convinced me that dentistry would be the perfect career for me. I have always been grateful for the advice he gave me then, and also for his friendship in the years to follow.

J. Craig Baumgartner, former director, endodontics, University of Oregon: John was the epitome of gracious leadership. He always strived for excellence in all his endeavors and motivated others to likewise achieve excellence. He will be greatly missed.

Ben Johnson, Tulsa Dental, Oklahoma: Dr. Ingle’s textbook was at chairside when I did my first root canal treatment in dental school, and it is in my office today. John and Joyce Ingle were the most gracious couple I’ve known. Without his encouragement Tulsa Dental would not have been. I’ve lost a mentor, I’ve lost a friend. Thank you, John, for being you!

Leif K. Bakland, Loma Linda, Calif.: Dr. Ingle had an influence on many professional careers, including mine. By encouraging me to write a chapter on dental trauma for the third edition, my interest in that aspect of endodontics was born. Inviting me to be co-editor of three editions of “ENDODONTICS” gave me an opportunity to learn more about our specialty than would otherwise have been possible.

Robert S. Roda, past AAE president: I did not have the privilege of meeting Dr. Ingle until just a few years ago, but I did benefit from his efforts by using his text in dental school and reading many of his papers as an endodontist. When I finally met him, my initial awe was replaced by warm feelings and admiration that such a giant in our field was such a friendly, wonderful and down-to-earth human being.

Ilan Rotstein, University of Southern California: The endodontic family lost the last of the Mohicans of the generation that founded and were pioneers of our specialty, and I lost a dear mentor and friend. For John it was all about people and providing them with opportunities. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity and privilege to edit, together with John, the upcoming seventh edition of “Ingle’s ENDODONTICS.” He will be sorely missed.

Aviad Tamse, Tel Aviv, Israel: A true leader, a legend in his own time, a dear friend and above all else, a “mensch.”

Look for a special tribute to Dr. Ingle in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Endodontics.

Thoughts from the Foundation for Endodontics

Over time, Dr. Ingle’s personal contributions to the specialty have propelled the science and art of endodontics forward. His work as a lifetime educator represented his commitment to the future of the specialty and the next generation. Through numerous lectures, articles and authoring of the authoritative textbook, “Endodontics,” Dr. Ingle also significantly advanced the specialty’s scientific body of knowledge. The Foundation for Endodontics commends Dr. Ingle for his leadership and outstanding achievements during his lifetime. Since his passing, there have been several endodontists interested in making contributions to the Foundations to help memorialize Dr. Ingle’s legacy. If you are interested in making a contribution to the Foundation in memory of Dr. John I. Ingle, please contact Foundation staff at or call 312-266-7255. Those interested in contributing are encouraged to provide a short memory or thought (no more than 30 words) about Dr. Ingle which will be included in a special section of the Foundation’s memorial listings.