Dr. Bryan P. Fitzgerald, a Towson dentist who specialized in implant and periodontal surgery, died Nov. 20 from esophageal cancer at his Reisterstown home. He was 55.
“Bryan was probably the best dentist I have ever seen — and he was my dentist too,” said Dr. Sylvan Feldman, his partner, who established Feldman, Fitzgerald & Choe in 1978.
“We only had one argument in 22 years, and that lasted 20 seconds. Not many partners can say that,” said Dr. Feldman, a Pikesville resident. “He was very jovial, friendly and a lot of fun.”
Robin K. Paiget, an administrative assistant, has been associated with the practice for 22 years and called Dr. Fitzgerald “an incredible, kind and wonderful man” and a “loving son, brother, husband, father and friend.”
“I had the best job, and was honored to be his administrative assistant for 20 years,” said Ms. Piaget, a Cockeysville resident. “He had the ability to make everyone feel comfortable and fall in love with him immediately.”
Bryan Paul Fitzgerald was born in Alexandria, Va., and was raised in the Phoenix area of Baltimore County. He was the son of Paul Fitzgerald, president of Ratner, Schweitzer & Robbins, a road construction company, and Kay Ward Fitzgerald, an artist.
A 1982 graduate of Dulaney High School, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1986 from Towson University, where he had been a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
He was a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 1990, and completed his residency in 1991 at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was chief resident from 1992 to 1993.
From 1993 to 1995, Dr. Fitzgerald was a clinical instructor in restorative dentistry at the University of Maryland, and in 1997 he received certification in periodontics, also from Maryland.
He was a partner at Feldman, Fitzgerald & Choe for more than 20 years. He practiced periodontics and periodontal implant prosthetics, with an emphasis on implants and aesthetic periodontal surgery.
“Every new patient walked through the front door with the dreaded fear of seeing the dentist, and would walk out with a big smile on their face and with peace and confidence that they had found someone who truly cared about them and would do anything to help them,” Ms. Piaget said.
“He was a very genuine person who never pushed work on patients that wasn’t necessary,” she added. “And if they had financial problems, he’d help them with that, and would often give discounts.
“If there was an emergency, he’d stay late, or come in on weekends, because he loved what he was doing,” she said.
In addition to maintaining a busy practice, Dr. Fitzgerald was a faculty member in the departments of advanced general dentistry and periodontics at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and was chief of implant dentistry.
“He was an excellent teacher. The students loved him,” said Dr. Feldman, who is also on the faculty at the school and is clinical director of the Periodontal Prosthesis and Implant Fellowship Program.
Dr. Fitzgerald was a diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontics and a member of the American Academy of Periodontology and the Academy of Osseointegration. He was also a member of the American Dental Society, the Baltimore County Dental Society, the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Society, the Gorgas Odontological Honor Society and the Gamma Pi Delta Honor Society.
His work earned him honors and awards including the Harry B. Schwartz Award, the American Academy of Periodontology Award, the Alexander H. Patterson Medal and the Nathan Gold Memorial Award.
“He filled his time with many hobbies, and he was passionate about athletics and competition, both participating and observing,” wrote a daughter, Sarah K. Fitzgerald Sacco of Jersey City, N.J., in a biographical profile of her father. “Through his many team sports, lacrosse, football and later tennis and paddle tennis, his mantra was ‘Never let your team down.’ ”
He was also a skier, a marathoner and a triathlete. He was a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and a season ticket holder for 20 years. He also liked to spend time at a second home on the Eastern Shore, where he enjoyed fishing from his boat and exploring Assateague Island.
Ms. Sacco wrote that her father liked coaching his daughter’s athletic teams, attending extracurricular activities, assisting with homework and teaching his children to fish. She said he also taught them “how to live an inspired and purposeful life. He always felt that his family was his greatest accomplishment and that family conquers all.”
A remembrance service will be held 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the chapel at St. Paul’s School for Girls, 11152 Falls Road, Brooklandville.
In addition to his daughter, Dr. Fitzgerald is survived by his wife of 29 years, the former Elizabeth M. Kaplan; another daughter, Hailey Joy Fitzgerald of Towson; two brothers, Patrick Fitzgerald of Towson and Michael Fitzgerald of Eldersburg; a sister, Shawn Best of Wilmington, N.C.; a stepmother, Dolores Hansen Fitzgerald of Fairhaven, Mass.; and numerous nieces and nephews.