Dennis Edward Lopatin, professor of dentistry emeritus and senior associate dean emeritus, died Sept. 18 at home beside his loving wife, Jane. He was 74.
He was born in Chicago to Leonard and Cynthia (Shifrin) on Oct. 26, 1948. He exhibited an interest in science at an early age — working with his chemistry set was a favorite pastime.
After graduating from Evanston Township High School, he entered the University of Illinois where he earned a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science in microbiology, and ultimately a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunochemistry in 1974. He then began postdoctoral training at Northwestern University Medical Center.
He was recruited to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1976 and was a research scientist until he was appointed assistant professor of dentistry in 1978. He was subsequently promoted to associate professor in 1982, and to professor in 1990.
He was named vice chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences in 1998 and was appointed interim chair of the Department of Periodontics, Prevention and Geriatrics in 2001. Dennis ultimately assumed the role of senior associate dean in 2003, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 2014.
Throughout his career, he taught microbiology and immunology. His internationally recognized research focused primarily on the immune response to chronic oral microbial infection.
He published numerous articles in scientific journals and contributed chapters to various books, and served on editorial boards for numerous scientific journals. He also was a reviewer of grants and contracts for the National Institutes of Health and other scientific organizations.
He was recognized by U-M for his sensitivity and support of staff and started the Dental School’s first faculty mentorship program. He also enjoyed working with students, many of whom have stayed in contact over the years. His efforts were instrumental in advancing the capital improvement plan that ultimately led to the massive renovation and expansion of the school that began in 2018.
His marriage to Marie Ludmer in 1973 brought forth their son, Jeremy, but subsequently ended in divorce. His 36-year marriage to Constance McLoud in 1983 lasted until she died of cancer early in 2019. He then married Jane Talcott on Sept. 4, 2022, at her home in Manchester, Michigan, with his son Jeremy presiding.
Throughout his life he pursued interests in international travel, photography, cooking and baking. Upon retirement, he was invited to join the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, which he accepted because of its mission of service to youth. He enjoyed serving on the Voucher Committee, where case workers bring clients into the Kiwanis Thrift Shop to choose merchandise cost-free, until a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis curtailed his activities.
He is survived by his wife, M. Jane (Shurtleff) Talcott; son, Jeremy Lopatin and daughter-in-law Aubrey Lopatin (nee Alter); grandson Arthur Lopatin and granddaughter Penelope Lopatin; brothers Michael (Judy) Lopatin and Richard (Geri) Lopatin; nephews Kyle (Ashley) Lopatin and Ben (Lisa) Lopatin; niece Jennifer (Leo) Hergenroeder; grandnieces Anna and Grace Hergenroeder; and grandnephew Elliot Lopatin.
He also will be greatly missed by his more recently acquired family, including stepson Van (Pam) Talcott, stepdaughter Rita (Carl) Westfall, stepgrandson Alec Rodriguez and stepgranddaughter Leah Rodriguez, as well as by special friends and colleagues, including Steven Bayne and Sharon Grayden.
A memorial gathering is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 15, at Nie Funeral Home, 3767 W. Liberty Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103. Anyone considering a tribute is encouraged to consider the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E. Ohio St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL, 60611, pulmonaryfibrosis.org.