Dr. Robert Aslanian

Obituary: Dr. Robert A. Aslanian (1943-2017)


GREENWICH, Conn. – Dr. Robert A. Aslanian, oral surgeon, mentor and artist, passed away on September 11, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 74 years old. A medical professional in the Greenwich community for 45 years, Bob, as he was called, was known for his high level of professionalism, integrity, compassion and gentle nature. He was cherished and loved by his family, friends and patients.

Born in New York City on February 6, 1943, into a close-knit Armenian family and community, Bob was the son of the late Mary and Arsen Aslanian. His father served in World War II and did not return until Bob was three years old. Bob received his undergraduate degree from New York University (Heights Colleges) and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the NYU College of Dentistry in 1968; he went on to post-graduate training in oral surgery at Hartford Hospital (University of Connecticut Health Center), after which he opened his oral surgery practice, currently Infinity Oral Surgery, at The Medical Building, 49 Lake Ave., in 1971.

Bob served on the attending staff as an Oral Surgeon and Chief of the Section of Dental and Oral Surgery at Greenwich Hospital from 1982 until his passing. Bob also was Consultant in Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Dental Care of Stamford and at Connecticut Health of Greenwich. In addition to his extensive involvement in the Greenwich dental community, Bob was Assistant Clinical Professor at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. Bob was a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Surgery and Maxillofacial Surgery and held dental licenses from New York and Connecticut. He was a Life Fellow of the American Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and a Life Member of the American Dental Association, the Connecticut Dental Society, which he served as President and the Connecticut Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Bob has been named as a Top Dentist in Connecticut Magazine‘s survey of Connecticut dentists. Alibis, a Greenwich organization for special needs children and adults, presented Bob with the Outstanding Health Professional of 2008 Award for his caring and compassion. Bob was past President of the Armenian-American Health Professional Organization (AAHPO) of the Tristate Area.

“Bob was a strong believer in Armenian health care professionals helping the Armenian community. As an early leader of AAHPO, he fostered the growth of this nascent organization and laid the foundation that continues to be instrumental in all we have accomplished today. He continued his involvement for many years, helping with the 2009 Armenian Medical Congress in New York, and leading a medical workshop at St. Gregory’s,” noted current AAHPO President Lawrence V. Najarian. Najarian said, “He was deeply committed and always willing to lend a helping hand.” Bob presented a case study of a Gigantiform Cementoblastoma of the Mandible to the Armenian World Congress held in New York City.

In April 2016, Greenwich Hospital honored Bob with grateful appreciation for his 45 years of service to the hospital. In June 2017, he received the monthly Quality Award in recognition of his exceptional contribution to Greenwich Hospital’s “Commitment to Service Excellence”.

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Bob taught at his alma mater, New York University School of Dentistry, and continued in that position until his passing. His love for his students and colleagues was boundless. Bob’s community service included speaking to high school students considering careers in dentistry and the allied dental professions, to whom he presented explicitly illustrated lectures about how smoking and chewing tobacco can cause cancerous lesions in the mouth and throat. His frankness made a strong impression on students. The Greenwich Health Association presented Bob with the Outstanding Volunteer Health Care Professional Award for his dedicated and continuous service to youth in anti-smoking education programs throughout the town. Bob lectured on dental health issues to the Greenwich Men’s Club.

Bob served as a deacon and usher at The First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich and was a member of the Men’s Club at Saint Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in White Plains. Bob was an accomplished landscape painter who firmly believed in using pure oils as his medium. Bob expressed a deep love for art. He inherited this talent and passion from his father, with whom he exhibited in father-son shows throughout the area. These paintings were displayed in Bob’s dental office, and his seven-feet high painting of Noah’s Ark was presented to the First Presbyterian Church.

Bob and his wife Gloria, were members of local and national Puppetry Guilds and attended puppet festivals throughout the United States. He was especially admired by members of the Puppetry Guilds for carving detailed facial and hand features using dental tools. Together, Bob and Gloria volunteered for an after-school marionette class at The Edison School in Port Chester, New York. Marionettes made by Fourth and Fifth Grade students were incorporated into their language arts enrichment studies and resulted in a fully-staged production from the “Tapestry” series by Henry Neff. Bob loved working with the students, and they were thrilled to have him share his talents with them.

Combining his professional skills and artistic talents, Bob’s dental drawings were featured in many publications. Bob met his future wife and childhood neighbor, Gloria Koomruian, when he was five years old. He became extended family to the Koomruians: Charles, Claire, Grace and Gloria. Bob married the love of his life, Gloria, in 1967. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year. He is survived by his wife Gloria; their two children, Grace Aslanian and Dr. Harry Aslanian; his daughter-in-law Dr. Meg Rydell and three grandchildren, Elise, John and Annika Aslanian. He also leaves behind his loving brother Richard Aslanian; his sister-in-law Lynn Aslanian; nephew Brian Aslanian and nieces Lily and Lia Aslanian; his sisters-in-law Claire Davidian, Reverend Doctor Grace Koomruian and Sylvia Koomruian; his nieces Karen Davidian and Ruth Elias and nephew Charles Koomruian and extended family member Luke Bentley.

All are welcome to a memorial service, conducted by clergy from The First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich and Saint Gregory the Enlightener, at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich (1 West Putnam Ave. at Lafayette Place) on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 2:30 p.m., and to the reception that follows in Fellowship Hall at Church. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.castiglionefh.com.

Topics: Obituary
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