A serious Richard
Richard & Judy exploring the Southwest
Richard & PFA Officers at the Oklahoma Dental Association Centennial
At the European Union HQ in Belgium with (L-R) Senator Ray Rawson, the Marois', Marita Dahan, the Kozals, the Ray Kleins, the Campbells, & Jose Dahan
L-R, Nicholas Saccone, James Englander, Gary Lowder, & Richard
L-R, Editor Brophy, Fred and Woody Halik, & Richard in Paris where Pierre Fauchard would dine
L-R, Trustees Ernesto Acuna & Dan Castagna, Richard, then President James Englander, Professor Frank Weine, Judy Kozal, Trustee Joe Harris, & Section Chair Chris Baboulas at the Chicago MidWinter Meeting.
Richard and life-long friend Bill Kort at the dental museum
Executive Committee touring the dental museum
General Ed Bradley, Colonel Richard, and Admiral Dick Shaffer
Richard with Dean & Mrs. Rafaele Suriano of Loyola Dental School
Past ADA President Joe Cappuccio with Richard
L-R, Vice Regent Cal Akal, Regent Richard, Deputy Regents John Knox & Bill Kort at 1993 Breakfast
Richard receiving award from the PFA Japanese Delegation
L-R, Richard presents Foundation grant to Carol Brew, Theresa Raglin, and Karen Mulcahy
Judy & Richard at home in Mesquite
Judy & Richard not at their Mesquite home
Judy, Pierre Marois, Seba Marois, Richard at awarding Pierre Trustee-emeritus status
Judy & Richard as Doc Holliday and Kate
L-R, Mike Perpich, Richard, Bill Winspear, Jim Englander, & Dan Jonker
Happy Trails to you 'til we meet again.
Pierre Fauchard Academy
A man's worth is often judged by what he builds in his life. Dr. Kozal's life was abruptly shortened by disease. As we lived, worked, and laughed with him during his adventure, Richard Kozal put in a very full life and, I have no doubt, would have continued to do so. Richard rarely let a moment escape him without planning his next project.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery put it in this manner: "He who has gone, as we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, more present than the living man."
We have barely begun to realize the impact on our world without Richard. Is there anyone out there who has the capabilities, the experiences, the contacts, the vision, the drive, and the personality to step into the breach left by our fallen comrade who spent nearly three decades in service to the Pierre Fauchard Academy? This is not meant to be his obituary, but a memoriam for us all, for our friend. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow noted that, "the heart has its own memory, like the mind. And in it are the precious keepsakes, into which is wrought the giver's loving thought."
Those who knew him well, his wife Judy, his family, and his friends internationally, loved him in a very special way that only his close friendship could inspire. We grieve for our loss of this dear person. But our heartfelt feelings for what he did for us all will live on in our hearts and minds as we struggle to pick up the pieces he left behind for us to gather. The lessons we learned from his leadership will help us to keep all the integral parts in place and allow the Academy to continue its upward climb to further prestige as a foremost dental honor service organization.
Helen Keller once said: "What we have enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
Ask the PFA Presidents who worked with Richard over the decades. Many experienced how Richard took a box of index cards that contained the members' names and addresses and built an organization that moved into the computer age with a Web site of its own, computerized rosters, and activities that rival any competitor. And that is just part of the legacy he has left us. Cry not that our friend has fallen, but rejoice that we were an important part of his success, and still are. As Thomas Campbell says, "to live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." Thus, Richard is not dead. He is all of those he touched, he lives in us.
"Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing more save the limit of our sight."--Rossiter W. Raymond.
Richard is just over the horizon calling to us to stay the course. Let not our tears blind us from the path he so steadfastly hewn for us. But as world dental leaders, continue to answer the call that Richard also believed in with us and work to continue his vision for us, the world, and for our profession. Richard would have insisted that we do that, for no man spends his life frivolously building anything to want to see his life's work dissolve because of his absence. He gave of himself that the Academy might continue. Richard believed in that. We believe in that as well.
"If I am to wear this mourning cloak, let it be made of the fabric of love, woven by the fine thread of memory" bespeaks Molly Fumia in Safe Passage (Conari Press).
Memory is our guidepost. Richard's character and management style made an indelible mark on the PFA. He laid a foundation and helped build a strong academy of global leaders that has moved into the 21st century. Whoever comes forth to lead us out of this darkness will bring new resolve, new ideas, and new direction. We must give him space to develop his own style of leadership for PFA. That someone who feels the PFA spirit so well developed for us by Richard will lead us through the new challenges. Otherwise we will lose all that Richard has done for us and our profession.
"Remembering is an act of resurrection, each repetition a vital layer of mourning, in memory of those we are sure to meet again" by Nancy Cobb in her work In Lieu of Flowers.
Richard was a professional, honed in education at the Chicago College of Dental Surgery, Loyola University School of Dentistry. He taught there as a professor until the school closed in 1993, and then taught again in 1997 at the Community College of Southern Nevada. In his love of his profession, and with PFA help, Richard founded two dental museums, at the Community College of Southern Nevada and at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His desire to preserve the heritage of his profession drove him to fashion these museums into something special for the entire profession. He linked the Dental History Web site to our own. He sponsored dental history literature.
Richard was a patriot. Upon his dental school graduation in 1959, Capt. Kozal joined the U.S. Army Dental Corps where he served two years active duty, and then continued on in the Army Reserves until he retired as Colonel in 1999. He had earned the Legion of Merit Award for his service as the 330th Brigade Dental Surgeon, Chief of Professional Services, Commander of the 149th Dental Unit at Fort Sheridan, and Deputy Commander of the 89th Medical Brigade. During his tour of duty Richard served in Central America and in Europe, and commanded a Dental Headquarters Unit during Desert Storm, earning Award Certificates of Accomplishment from the U.S. Army War College and the National Defense University. He was honored with the U.S. Army Order of Military Merit and the Army Medical Department Professional Achievement designation by the Surgeon General. His other recognitions include the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Medal with Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters. Richard maintained a private dental practice in Summit, IL, following his Army service. He retired from there in about 1997 and moved to Las Vegas.
Richard's life of dedication was no less deep than his devotion to the profession of dentistry. He taught students knowledge, morals, and ethics. He practiced such with himself as one would a religion. He was unforgiving when an associate, friend, or student violated those precepts. He ran his military life, his personal life, and professional life in a very strict mode of such ethics. Fresh from active duty Richard joined the "dental political group" called the Progressives. Seems that before Richard was born, the Chicago Dental Society (CDS) fought 'tooth and thong" with downstate
Illinois dentists over control for the dental societies. The years when the open convention was held in Chicago, the CDS leadership prevailed; when it was held downstate, more times the downstate dentists garnered more votes. Then there were the intra-Chicago squabbles, which often wound up in court for adjudication. The courts in their wisdom set down a decision that the leadership positions in Chicago would rotate every year between the three established dental schools--University of Illinois, Loyola University, and Northwestern. The "dental political parties" created by this decree became known as the Progressives, mostly recruited from the comrades from the University of Illinois; the Independents were from Loyola University; and the Members were from Northwestern. The responsibilities of the selected officer candidates from the three parties were to provide the work force for organizing the CDS MidWinter Meeting, a huge dental conference that ran about five days during the third week in February every year. This arrangement (never written down) worked so well that the Illinois dentists started a similar rotation between the CDS and the Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS). That ended the infighting and promoted successful dental meetings and conventions from the component ranks on up. Richard was a member of the Progressives, the largest "political party," and with his demonstrated leadership, his ties to teaching at Loyola, and his activity in the Loyola Dental Alumni Association, he moved up in the ranks to one day become President of the Chicago Dental Association. Having the ADA Headquarters in Chicago did not hurt involvement with the national dental organization, and Richard found himself selected as ADA Vice President for a year.
Besides his Illinois contacts, his alumni contacts, his activity on the international scene from the ADA and FDI, Richard had become a Fellow in the International College of Dentists (ICD) eventually rising to District 8 (Illinois) Regent; a Fellow in the American College of Dentists (ACD) stepping aside when nominated for ACD Regent; a Fellow in the Academy of Dentistry Internationale (ADI), where at the urging of PFA's Cliff Loader, Richard briefly took on the position as ADI Executive Director; and then becoming a Fellow in the Pierre Fauchard Academy with his many PFA friends, like past CDS President William Kort, (1989-90 PFA President, and later ICD Regent) and PFA past President and Editor-Emeritus Cliff Loader. Richard was elected to the position of PFA Executive Secretary and then combined that office with the PFA Treasurer's to become the PFA Secretary/Treasurer, a position he remained at for many years until 2003-04 when the position was renamed the PFA Secretary General. The position kept much of the same duties but lost a vote on the Board of Trustees.
Richard also went on to become President of the Loyola Dental Alumni Association, active in Omicron Kappa Upsilon dental honor fraternity, and became a Knights Templar. Richard reached out to achieve the position of Trustee for ADA District 8. But it was not his turn and many viewed his attempt to secure the position out of sequence as an attempt to destroy the "Coalition Rotation" that now included the Illinois ADA Trustee. Richard failed in his attempt to use his ADA Vice President experience for further use for Illinois. Bitter enemies were formed against Richard and his allies, so much so that no Illinois dentist was ever selected for ADA Vice President again, and no Illinois Trustee ever was able to be elected ADA President. He even gave honor to a couple of his dire foes years later in presenting them PFA Service Achievement Awards, and attended the presentation ceremonies to thank them for their service. Richard was that type of forgiving person.
After Loyola Dental School closed in 1993, Richard was working on arrangements between PFA and UNLV to move our headquarters there after the new dental school was opened. Richard took a teaching position at the Community College of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas) in 1997, established our headquarters in that school while awaiting UNLV's dental school opening, and became close friends with UNLV's sponsor, State Senator Raymond Rawson. While at the Community College of Southern Nevada, he helped them secure a Foundation grant for their Hygiene Program, got Foundation funding to establish a dental museum there with the thoughts of moving it to UNLV later, but eventually established a second dental museum at UNLV, procured archive equipment with funding from PFA Fellow Bob Ibsen of Den-Mat, and helped raise donations for PFA fellows to establish the museum site.
PFA turned over the dental museums to the respective schools to be maintained by them. The arrangement to headquarter at UNLV went awry, so Richard and now Assistant PFA Secretary Judy Kozal relocated the PFA Headquarters to Mesquite in 2006 to get more space and a reasonable rent. By his first marriage Richard and his then wife, Laverne, had three sons: Paul of California, and David and Rick of Illinois. Richard acquired a stepson, Michael, of Mesquite, in his second marriage to Judy. Those of us who knew Richard for decades knew of his passion for dental history that evolved itself into establishing the dental museums and sponsoring dental history books. Richard had a feeling for dentists Doc Holliday and Painless Parker. And Richard loved military history, visiting such battlefields wherever he traveled ... and cowboys. One year Richard, as Doc Holliday, and Judy put on a skit in cowboy outfits at the "no-host" dinner party Sunday evening that followed the PFA Annual Board Meeting during the ADA Annual Sessions-- a dinner party that Richard had founded to complete our Annual Meeting workload with a social gathering of PFA Fellows and their wives.
"Photographs are precious memories...the visual evidence of place and time and relationships...ritual talisman for the treasure chest of the heart" wrote Robert Fulghum in his book In From Beginning to End.
From more than 1,000 or so pictures of Richard during the 40 years I accompanied him in his life's journey, we were able to select a mere few to bring recollection to us all of those memories we share with our dear departed friend. Space limits our using them all. Forgive us if we missed your favorite memory.
Richard was buried in the Mesquite City Cemetery on March 19th with PFA President Chuck and Gloria Eller present along with PFA President-elect Steve and Chris Hedlund, PFA Section Chair for Nevada Bill Rohel, and pallbearers Dan Jonker (PFA accountant), Senator Ray Rawson, son Paul Kozal, and stepson Michael Janis. We know many more of us wanted to be there, but the distance, time, and commitments prevented many from doing so. Thus we have set aside this issue to revisit our friend to bespeak our grief and final good-bye as we ride off with him into the setting sun.