Dr. Jerome Leroy Fechtner, 94, a longtime resident of Watchung, died April 1, 2016. He was born in Newark.
Dr. Fechtner opened his dental office in Fanwood in 1947 and remained in practice until his retirement in 2006. He also served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, offering courses and lectures through its Division of Continuing Education. He presented lectures to dental groups throughout Pennsylvania and across the country.
He attended Weequahic High School in Newark. He graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and completed an oral surgery internship at Muhlenberg Hospital in 1943.
A veteran of World War II, he was in the Navy from 1944 to 1947. He was stationed in Norfolk, Va., and served with the destroyer tender the U.S.S. Alcor with the Fifth Fleet in the Pacific Theater. He was honorably discharged with the rank of lieutenant.
Known for his filmmaking skills, he used them to create films to educate others on the latest dental procedures. He also used those skills in private practice, using video recordings to provide instant visual analysis for his patients, which allowed them to participate in critical care decisions. In 1985, he received the Academy of General Dentistry’s highest national honor, the Mastership in the Academy, which is awarded to professionals who demonstrate a commitment to continuing education and complete more than 1,000 hours of study in 13 subject areas.
He was involved with the Boy Scouts of America, where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow. He worked at Boy Scout camps as nature and waterfront directors, leading hiking expeditions through the Appalachian Mountains. He was an avid and expert birder. Through his film-making he was able to share his extensive knowledge, including presentations at the American Museum of Natural History with Roger Tory Peterson and at the National Audubon Society.
Active in his community, he was a member of the Watchung Board of Education, president of the Watchung Board of Health, president of New Jersey Academy of General Dentistry, and an advisory board member for the Somerset Trust Company. Professionally, he was a member of the American Dental Association, the American Society of Dentistry for Children, the New Jersey Academy of General Dentistry, the New Jersey Dental Research Group, among many groups.
He is survived by his wife, Sondra “Sandee” Reiss Fechtner; four sons, Kenneth of San Francisco, Robert (Nan) of Watchung, Daniel (Mei Mah) of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Lawrence (Sarah) of Chatham; a sister, Barbara Bierman of Livingston; and seven grandchildren.
Services were held April 3 with arrangements by Higgins Home for Funerals, Watchung. Memorial contributions may be made to The Raptor Trust, Millington.