Dr. Hector F. Paul DiNardo Jr., a retired Baltimore County dentist who practiced for more than 40 years and was a longtime proponent of dental ergonomics, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer at his Timonium home. He was 81.
Dr. DiNardo was born in Baltimore and raised on North Bentalou Street. He was a 1945 graduate of Loyola High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in 1949.
In 1938, when he was 11 years old, Dr. DiNardo entered a contest to serve as Baltimore Mayor Howard W. Jackson's replacement for a day and won.
"He was paid $15 for his term," said a daughter, Mary Lou DiNardo of New York City.
In the late 1940s, he served in a medical unit of the Army's 11th Airborne, Ninth Corps., in Sendai, Japan, as a member of its orthopedics division.
After earning a dental degree from the University of Maryland Dental School in 1953, he interned with the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in San Francisco.
Dr. DiNardo maintained a general dental practice at York Road and Green Meadow Drive in Timonium for 41 years until retiring in 1994.
He had served on the admissions committee and was a guest lecturer at the University of Maryland Dental School.
Dr. DiNardo was chairman of the Baltimore County Board of Health for 13 years, and he also had been president of the Baltimore County Dental Association and had served as a member of the board of Stella Maris Hospice.
An innovative dentist, Dr. DiNardo played an instrumental role in initiating a mouth guard program during the 1960s for football players in Maryland high schools.
In the 1970s, Dr. DiNardo traveled to Japan to study dental ergonomics, which altered the way dentists traditionally treated patients.
Rather than stand behind the patient while treating them, the patient lies flat on his back while the dentist sits alongside on a stool.
"We became associated in the early 1970s when we were brought into a dental consortium that went to Japan to study a new approach to dental ergonomics with Dr. Daryl Beach, an American dentist," said Dr. David A. Hanson, a Pittsford, N.Y., dentist and longtime friend of Dr. DiNardo's.
"This was a major departure from the way dentistry had been practiced, and Hector played an influential role in introducing this technique back to the University of Maryland Dental School," Dr. Hanson said.
He added: "It really was a wonderful and great thing, and our one success story was at the University of Maryland Dental School."
Dr. Brian W. Muller, who purchased Dr. DiNardo's practice at his retirement, said the new technique helped eliminate the lower back pain problems associated with the old treatment method.
Dr. DiNardo was also a mentor to those considering a career in dentistry.
"He inspired me to be a dentist," Dr. Muller recalled. "In the late 1960s, when I was a student at Timonium Elementary School, I fell and broke some of my teeth and my mother took me to Dr. DiNardo. Not long afterward, I decided I wanted to become a dentist, and started reading books about dentistry."
Dr. Muller said that Dr. DiNardo helped him get into dental school and, after he graduated, gave him a job in his practice.
"He and his wife were like second parents to me," he said. "He was a great dentist and always very gentle with the patients."
Former Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III was a longtime friend and golfing buddy.
"He always loved telling me that the only time the city was run right was when he was mayor," Mr. D'Alesandro said, with a laugh.
"Hector was a great guy and had been a great athlete and wrestler in his youth. We played golf Wednesdays and Saturdays for 40 years at Hillendale Country Club, and he was one tough competitor," he said. "What a wonderful human being."
In addition to golf, Dr. DiNardo enjoyed tennis, sailing and skiing.
Dr. DiNardo was the founder of the Pot Spring Community Association in Timonium.
He was a longtime active communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 103, Church Lane, Cockeysville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.
Also surviving are his wife of 57 years, the former Margaret Meekins; four sons, Hector F. Paul DiNardo III of Stewartstown, Pa., Ignatius DiNardo of Salisbury, Peter DiNardo of Berlin and Edmund DiNardo of Timonium; three other daughters, Mary Joe McCrone of Baldwin, Mary Kay Senft of Timonium and Mary Margaret Adams of Sparks; a sister, Elizabeth DiNardo of Timonium; and 16 grandchildren.