I just found out that a local colleague passed away a couple of weeks ago.
Theofelos A. “Steve” ALIAPOULIOS, D.D.S. was 86 years old when he passed away. He saw patients until his last day on this Earth. That’s a true Dental Warrior!
I knew Steve through our common participation in the Atlantic Coast Dental Research Clinic. Though he was old enough to be my father (and even almost my grandfather), we just hit it off. Steve was quite simply a “cool” guy. I admired his passion for dentistry. Here he was in his 80s, still seeing patients in private practice, AND he was still attending continuing education courses. He still had an appetite to learn the latest and greatest in dentistry. I’ve been a member at the Research Clinic for 22 years, and I’ve taken a lot of classes with Steve. Steve had even taken classes I taught.
Steve ALWAYS had a smile on his face. He loved to talk about dentistry. He always wanted to know what I was up to. Just this year, I was showing him my Dad’s reconstruction case, and he was fascinated and fully engaged. I really enjoyed sharing ideas and cases with Steve.
Steve was very involved with the community through his church and Rotary Club. I just learned that he had PERFECT ATTENDANCE to Rotary meetings for SIXTY YEARS. He was an avid singer in Barbershop Quartet. He was an active member of the local dental association for 59 years. Amazing.
In the Research Clinic, Steve was always eager to treat patients, and I can tell you he still “had it.” He still had the hands. And, patients always loved him.
I often told Steve that I hope I will still have the same passion and desire when I reach his age. I told him he was an inspiration. He always laughed and shrugged. But, I meant it.
I know a lot of YOUNG dentists who live counting down the days until retirement. I can’t imagine going to the office every day, dreading it, and dreaming of when I can leave the profession. I’ve long said that I have no specific plans to retire by a certain date or age. I may reallocate my time to some degree. I may take more vacations in the future. But, I AM a dentist. I love doing this. I have no reason to ever quit. And, if I can keep doing it with a smile on my face, like Steve…. then it will be a good life.
I’m really going to miss hanging out with Steve in the Research Clinic. Rest in peace, my friend.