Obituary of Fred Greenblatt
On July 13, 2020, Dr. Fred D. Greenblatt passed away at the age of 83 from cancer. Fred was born on March 25, 1937, in Denver, Colorado to Sam Orlin and Anne Shpall. When Fred was 1 1/2 years old, his 25-year-old father died as the result of a freak accident, and Fred was later adopted by his stepfather Carl Greenblatt. Fred’s mother died when he was 26.
Fred grew up and spent the majority of his life in Denver, attended Denver North High School (where he was a classic 50’s “cool” kid wearing his hair in a ducktail and driving a hot rod) and then, in conformance with his mother’s wishes, attended the University of Colorado in Boulder (rather than join the Navy) where he was on the Dean’s List and where he met and married Julie Perlman. After college, at the suggestion of his mother (even though he thinks he may have only seen a dentist three times in his life prior to age 18), Fred attended dental school at the University of Missouri at Kansas City where he graduated in 1962 with honors, Cum Laude, 3rd in a class of 115.
After dental school and the birth of his first son, Jeff, Fred was awarded a commissioned officer Dental Internship from the U.S. Public Health Service and was stationed in New Orleans, Louisiana, for one “fabulous” year. After New Orleans, Fred had a number of different options available to him, and he decided to take the most unique one – as Chief of Dental Services, U.S. Public Health Service Indian Hospital, Rosebud, South Dakota. In this role, from 1963-1966, he developed a comprehensive dental health program for the children of the Rosebud reservation, ultimately bringing every child up to optimal dental health. Fred viewed his time in Rosebud as one of the best times of his life. In 1966, Fred was made an honorary member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe at a special Pow Wow, and given the honorary name “Shunka Wakan” or Crazy Horse after the famous Brule Sioux chief. His second son, Andrew, was born in Rosebud on December 25, 1963 (As Fred liked to say, Andrew was the first Jewish boy born on Christmas day on an Indian reservation). Fred, through three promotions, ultimately achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service.
After Rosebud, Fred and his family moved back to Denver where he opened up his own private dental practice and, over the next 30 years, built a large and loyal dental practice. His kids used to comment how they never could go anywhere in Denver, in Colorado or outside the state, without running into a current or former patient of his, and they all loved him. His third son, Mitch, was born in Denver in 1968. In 1970, Fred and his partners built a 10,000 sq. foot, dental building, and ultimately a 9-dentist group practice, in Glendale, Colorado. In 1972, he developed the first prepaid dental plan in Colorado. In 1979, the Governor Lamm of Colorado appointed Fred to the Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners, where he held various leadership positions over the next 10 years, including President of the State Board. Fred was also a Clinical Examiner for the 10 state Central Regional Testing Service, was selected to be on the 6 state Western Regional Examining Board licensing and testing service (where he was elected Vice President), and was a director of the Prudential Dental Maintenance Organization where he supervised a panel of 125 dental office providers in Colorado. Fred also worked with a number of attorneys as an expert witness on the standards of care in dentistry, and wrote a book entitled “Ten Practical Steps to Greater Profits in Dentistry, How to Prosper with Change.” Fred retired from dentistry in 1995.
In addition to caring for his patients, Fred was also desirous of helping others in the community, and from 1986-1995 served as a member of the Board of Directors and Secretary Treasurer of the “ARTS” (Addiction, Rehabilitation, and Treatment Services) foundation, a foundation affiliated with the University of Colorado, was a Steering Committee member and moderator of the Colorado Prescription and Drug Abuse Conference, and also a member of the Board of Directors of JOIN, Juvenile Offenders in Need.
While Fred was famous for his dentistry, Fred also was a “famous” artist. From 1980-1984, Fred was on the Board of Directors and a member of the American Federation of Radio of Television Actors, a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and on the Board of Directors of Rocky Mountain Area of SAG. He appeared in numerous television commercials both national and local (including in recurring commercials as a dentist discussing Central Bank’s NOW accounts with a patient in his dental chair), in TV movies (including as a lawyer in the ABC movie, “When She Said No”), and on a TV series (a role as a police officer in an episode of Dick Van Dyke’s “Diagnosis Murder” show). He also appeared in several national periodicals as a model, and was awarded the lead in local community theater productions of the musical plays “Pajama Game” and “Guys and Dolls” (where he was able to showcase his singing talents). Fred also was an accomplished metal sculptor, his works appearing in art shows in the Denver area.
In 1999, Fred married Nora Hurt, and for the next 21 years Fred and Nora traveled extensively throughout the world and the country having great adventures, living in Breckenridge, Denver, Phoenix, and St. Augustine Beach, Florida, where they lived at the time of his death.
Despite all that he had done, Fred stated that his greatest accomplishments, and his greatest legacy, were his three sons and their families. Fred is survived by his wife Nora, his sons Jeff, Andrew and Mitch, his grandchildren Gabrielle, Natasha, Trent, Kelsey, Bryce, Atlas and Ever, daughter in laws Kris, Robin and Kaiva, his sister Syma, and his nieces Lynn and Andrea.
The family will be holding a memorial at some point next year. If interested in information relating to the memorial, please send an email to FredDGreenblatt@gmail.com.