Dr. Surindar Bhaskar, 1923-2016



Surindar “Sindi” Bhaskar, DDS, who served as a major general in the United States Army Dental Corps before retiring, died on August 4, 2016 at the age of 93 in his home in Monterey, Calif. He was an oral pathologist, an educator, a periodontist, an author, and the first Asian-born general in the United States military.

Bhaskar was born in the state of Punjab in Northern India in 1923. He completed dental school at the University of Punjab by the age of 19 years and then practiced general dentistry in Bombay. At the age of 21, he came to the United States to attend the Northwestern University School of Dentistry, where he received his DDS in 1946.

Next, Bhaskar completed his master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees as well as specialty training in oral pathology and oral medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. He entered the U.S. Army Dental Corps in 1955, serving in numerous positions and rising to the rank of major general before being promoted to chief of the corps and assistant surgeon general for dental services.

Additionally, Bhaskar was a professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine and Dentistry and wrote more than 200 scientific papers and 4 textbooks. After retiring from the military, he entered a residency to obtain a certificate in periodontics at the UCLA School of Dentistry, VAMC Wadsworth, which he completed in 1980.

Later, he practiced periodontics with the Monterey Peninsula Dental Group. An internationally renowned lecturer on oral pathology and periodontics, he delivered more than 10,000 hours of education before retiring in 2005. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal for his work as well.

Bhaskar is survived by his wife, Norma; his sons, William, Philip, and Thomas; his brothers, Kedar, Som, and Prem; and his grandchildren, Elizabeth, Brian, and Emma. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Memorial donations may be sent to the S. N. Bhaskar Scholarship Endowment at the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry, Development Office, 155 Fifth St., San Francisco, Calif. 94103.

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