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Obituary - Dr. Robert Danner

Dr. Robert Danner

Date of Passing: March 1st, 2015

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Dr. Robert Danner, a prominent Utica dentist who practiced from his downtown office on the corner of Park Avenue and Hopper Street for nearly half a century, died on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at his home in Boca Raton, Florida, where he had lived since his retirement in 1998. He was 91 years old. Danner was born in Utica on September 17, 1923 to William Danner, a local plumber and contractor, and Celia Starman Danner. He attended John F. Hughes School and Utica Free Academy. After working at the Savage Arms munitions factory in Herkimer he entered Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, following in the path of his older brother William, who had been a star student there in the sciences. While attending Marietta, Danner enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942. He served on an aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Bonne Homme Richard, where he commanded an anti-aircraft gun crew and took part in the Battle of Okinawa and the Battle of Leyte Gulf off the Philippines. He always claimed that his experience in the war where he played a small part in vast movements of men and machines but without having any understanding of the larger strategies at work turned him into a devoted reader, first of War World II history, then of history in general. After the war, Danner attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry, from which he was graduated as a doctor of dental surgery in May 1951. In 1949, a friend had introduced him to the then Rosalyn Sitrin at King Cole's, a well-known ice cream parlor in South Utica. There was an instant attraction (though Danner always claimed that he was particularly impressed to see that his friend, a notorious tightwad, had actually spent money to buy Ms. Sitrin an ice cream cone). After a short engagement they were married on June 11, 1950 and eventually settled into a house on Ferris Avenue in South Utica, where they would raise four children. After working for a time at the Rome State School, Danner opened his practice at the corner of Park Avenue and Hopper Street. He would practice there for nearly fifty years. During that time, he became a prominent figure in the Oneida-Herkimer County Dental Society. He was elected president in 1987 and served until 1993. While leading the society he was active in promoting the use of fluoride in the Utica water system and he worked with the New York State government on a number of issues, including the administration of Medicaid, the program offering medical and dental coverage for the poor. As the neighborhood around his office declined along with the rest of downtown Utica during the late 1960s and 1970s an increasingly large percentage of Danner's practice was devoted to serving the poor. Until his retirement, Danner was one of a handful of dentists in Oneida County who continued to accept Medicaid patients, though reimbursement from the program was often far below outlays. He was proud of never having turned a patient away. Danner was an active skier and hunter and spent summers with his family at their camp on Okara Lake, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains just south of Old Forge, which his father had built as a fishing retreat during the early 1960s. He was an ardent patron of the Utica Public Library and remained until the end of his life an enthusiastic reader, favoring history, politics and political thrillers. Danner is survived by his wife, Rosalyn Danner of Boca Raton, Florida; and by three children, Holly Danner O'Brien of Jackson, Wyoming, Mark David Danner of Berkeley, California and New York City, and Lisa Gail Danner of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sheila Beth Danner, his second child, died in 1977. He is survived as well by three grandchildren, Sara Sheila Suggs of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Grace Beth Danner and Truman Leo Danner, both of Berkeley, California; and two great-grandchildren, Mateo and Marcus Sanchez of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Funeral services will be held at the Bentz Funeral Service, Inc., 13 Oxford Road, New Hartford on Sunday at 11 am. Visiting hours will begin at 10 am, prior to the service.


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Our sincere condolences on the loss of such a fine gentleman. Besides being one of seven children in our family who was lucky enough to have Dr Danner as our dentist he truly was much more than that. We had quite lengthy conversations on other health matters as well as current events of the time. It was a sad day for Utica when he retired but we're happy he has enjoyed so many years with his family in his later years. Peace and prayers to family.
Tim & Colleen Moylan Family

Dear Mrs. Danner, I am sure you probably don't remember me, but I was Dr. Caruso's Girl Friday as was my dear friend Carol Wheeler for Dr. Danner. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Jody Guarnieri
Jody Guarnieri