In this space you usually find some observational humor and the occasional fun fact or two about teeth and life in general. Today I pay homage to the untimely and sudden passing of one of my closest friends from dental school two weeks ago, Dr. Robert Axelrad of Toronto, Ontario Canada, age 59. (Note: This is not Dr. Michael Axelrod, a retired dentist from West Palm Beach, FL.)
We were classmates at McGill University, 84 -88. We would take turns playing practical jokes on each other which I think in today’s world would be considered illegal and possibly a felony in no less than fourteen states. We stayed in touch since graduating in 1988, as he would make annual trips to South Beach with his family.
AXELRAD, Dr. Robert – It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts that after a sudden illness, we announce the passing of Dr. Robert Axelrad on Sunday, February 21, 2021. Beloved husband of Evelyne. Adoring father of Hayley, and Sydney. Brother and brother-in-law of Mitchell, and Mark (Ellen). Devoted son of Rosaline Axelrad (Jack Frank), and the late Harry Axelrad. He will also be missed by his extended family and many many friends, as well as his patients and Dental family. Robbie was loved by all who knew him for his incredible sense of humor, authenticity and irresistible charm.
I looked back at a text I sent Robbie in early February wishing him a happy birthday. For some reason I had also written: “I just want you to know how much I appreciate your friendship for the last 37 years.” I don’t know why I felt I needed to add that to his birthday wish. He responded with repeating the same back to me.
I am not exactly the most sensitive man on the planet. I cried about three times in my life; the longest and most intense was when I received news while driving to work that my dear friend died of a pulmonary embolism.