Michael L. DiPaula

Den­tist who prac­ticed in Parkville for decades was a Navy vet­eran, out­doors­man and am­a­teur mu­si­cian

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Jac­ques Kelly

Dr. Michael L. DiPaula, a Navy vet­eran and re­tired den­tist who prac­ticed in Parkville for decades, died of can­cer Sept. 25 at his home in Bald­win. He was 72.

Born in Bal­ti­more and raised in Wal­brook, he was the son of Leonard Ge­orge DiPaula Jr., a Glenn L. Martin Co. worker and in­sur­ance agent, and He­len Ro­maine Mum­mert. The fam­ily lived above his grand­fa­ther’s business, DiPaula’s Con­fec­tionery and Soda Shop on Reis­ter­stown Road, dur­ing his child­hood.

He at­tended St. Ce­cilia and Our Lady of Lour­des schools and was a 1963 grad­u­ate of Mount St. Joseph High School, where he played football.

His daugh­ter, Lisa DiPaula, who lives in San Fran­cisco, re­called that her fa­ther was fas­ci­nated by den­tistry while still in his teens.

“In 1959, while he was on a den­tal ap­point­ment be­fore he en­tered high school, he went to see Dr. Bill Martin at the Med­i­cal Arts Build­ing,” she said. “He was fas­ci­nated with tools in his of­fice, and came home and told his mom he wanted to be a den­tist.”

After high school, he gained early ac­cep­tance for a pre-den­tal pro­gram at the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park. He earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree at Mary­land after three years’ study and en­tered the Univer­sity of Mary­land School of Den­tistry, from which he earned a de­gree in 1970.

Fam­ily mem­bers said he paid his tu­ition by work­ing at A&P gro­cery stores. He also played the sax­o­phone in two pop­u­lar Bal­ti­more bands, the Mar­quis and the Chelseas. He ap­peared on the WDCA-TV tele­vi­sion show, “Kerby Scott’s WingDing,” and played at dances at the El­li­cott City Ar­mory, the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, the Ocean City Pier, the Manch­ester Fire Hall and Dixie Ball­room at Gwynn Oak Park, among other venues.

Dr. DiPaula en­listed in the Navy in 1970 and was as­signed to Camp Pendle­ton in Cal­i­for­nia. He re­ceived ad­di­tional train­ing in the use of anes­the­sia at New­port Naval Hos­pi­tal. A lieu­tenant, he was sta­tioned at a Naval Mo­bile Con­struc­tion Bat­tal­ion on an In­dian Ocean atoll, Diego Gar­cia, where he was an of­fi­cer in charge of a div­ing team that did un­der­wa­ter con­struc­tion. He also headed the base’s den­tal de­part­ment and was its med­i­cal anes­thetist.

In 1972, he left ac­tive mil­i­tary ser­vice and then served in the Naval Re­serves for a decade.

In 1974, while va­ca­tion­ing in Ocean City, he met his fu­ture wife, Nancy Fritz, while on a blind date. They mar­ried in 1976.

He joined a fam­ily den­tal prac­tice at 8509 Har­ford Road in Parkville as an as­so­ci­ate of Dr. Jim Liszewski in 1972. He later took over the prac­tice and spe­cial­ized in cos­metic and min­i­mally in­va­sive den­tistry.

Dr. DiPaula was a lec­turer and writer on al­ter­nate medicine. He also taught on the dean’s fac­ulty at the Univer­sity of Mary­land School of Den­tistry. He re­tired from his pro­fes­sion ear­lier this year.

“He was a guy who lived life to the fullest,” said Dr. Peter Lu­cas, a fel­low den­tist who lives in Tow­son. “He took life and con­quered it.”

Dr. DiPaula worked Mon­days through Thurs­days and spent Fri­days and the week­end work­ing on his farm.

He lived on Su­gar Hill Farm in Fall­ston in the 1970s. In 1981, he pur­chased Fox Folly Farm in Bald­win, where he raised, bred and boarded horses. He designed his own home and a barn. He prided him­self that he never took a rid­ing les­son and went on to ride on trails through­out the country.

He was a scuba diver and deer and goose hunter. He en­joyed fish­ing, crab­bing and power­boat­ing out of Rum­sey Is­land in Har­ford County.

He was also a mo­tor­cy­cle and sports car en­thu­si­ast. He re­tained his love of mu­sic and played the sax­o­phone, clar­inet, gui­tar, banjo, drums and pi­ano at his home and in in­for­mal ses­sions with friends.

“He was a man who be­lieved hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion made any­thing pos­si­ble,” his daugh­ter said.

He be­longed to nu­mer­ous pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions, in­clud­ing the Mary­land State Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion and the Bal­ti­more County Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion.

A memo­rial ser­vice cel­e­brat­ing his life will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Ruck Tow­son Fu­neral Home, 1050 York Road.

In ad­di­tion to his daugh­ter and his wife of 41 years, who was his of­fice as­sis­tant, sur­vivors in­clude a son, An­thony M. DiPaula of Brook­lyn. N.Y.; and two sis­ters, Con­cetta Barth of Cen­tre­ville and Karen DiPaula of Mel­bourne, Fla.

Dr. Michael L. DiPaula was a lover of mu­sic who played sev­eral in­stru­ments.

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