Ralph B. Rothstein, 1924 – 2010

Ralph B. RothsteinRalph Rothstein, a Washington D.C. native, passionate philanthropist, champion for dental health in the United States and Israel, and a pillar of the Washington, D.C. Jewish community, lost his battle to cancer on December 19. He died at his home in Chevy Chase, MD.

Along with a legacy that will be felt for generations to come, Ralph left his bride, Bette, of just short of 65 years, four children, 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

After graduating from Roosevelt High School at 16, Rothstein continued his education at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rothstein began his passion for dentistry at an early age growing up working at Rothstein Dental Laboratories in DC, which was started by his father, Robert J. Rothstein, in 1906. During World War II, he continued expanding his skills at the Central Dental Laboratory in Fort McPherson, Georgia.

After he finished his service, he and his wife returned to Washington. Ralph continued to work with his father for the next 30 plus years helping to expand Rothstein Dental Laboratories into the largest dental lab in the world. Notwithstanding its size, the lab maintained a strong commitment to helping those less fortunate by performing pro-bono services for 41 years for the Hebrew Home of Washington, The Jewish Social Service Agency, and several other charitable organizations. Rothstein also received an award from President Lyndon Johnson for his employment of individuals with special needs.

He was a member of The Dental Laboratory Conference, the largest international dental laboratory association, where he held several key roles before being installed as the youngest president ever elected. He served two terms in this role, which had never been done previously.

Rothstein had an impact not only on the dental community in Washington and in the United States, but also in Israel, where his work helped to revive the struggling dental school at Tel Aviv University. His commitment to establishing a base of strong dental health for the country, coupled with his powerful development skills, helped to raise the university’s dental school to a level of international renown. Rothstein received an honorary degree from the University and served on its Board of Governors for many years.

In 1985, Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity honored Rothstein as someone who had made a worthy commitment to dentistry by bestowing honorary membership on him – an honor given to his father 18 years earlier. In later years, he received a meritorious service award from the Fraternity for his work helping to establish the Alpha Omega Foundation. Rothstein also was a member of the DC Dental Society.

Rothstein and his father share many honors, but none greater than having both received the Shem Tov Award, “The Crown of a Good Name,” from the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C, in recognition of their service to the Washington community.

Rothstein was the beloved husband of Bette M. Rothstein; father of Robin Rothstein Berman and her husband Robert, Randy Rothstein and his wife Sheri, Audrey Rothstein and her husband Frank Lipson, Russell Rothstein and his wife Susan; brother of Miriam Feldman and her late husband Dr. Irvin Feldman, Dr. Irving Rothstein and his wife Lorain. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren, Dr. Evan Lipson, Jennifer Katz, Benjamin Berman, Natasha Berman,  Rebecca Berman, Daniel Schreibstein, Julie Lipson, Robert Rothstein, Lauren Rothstein, Melissa Rothstein, Bradley Rothstein, Louis Rothstein, Richard Rothstein and two great-grandchildren, Bella and Emma Lipson.

  4 comments for “Ralph B. Rothstein, 1924 – 2010

  1. David Fine
    January 5, 2011 at 5:31 am

    I have missed my Amity connection the past three years and was saddened to hear of Ralph’s passing.

    To me, Ralph was the face of Amity….every time we met there was the great smile and upbeat personality!

    Ralph was a friend of my Dad, so I was fortunate to have known him before I joined Amity.

    There have been many great men of Amity who have passed, but I feel that Ralph epitomized the purpose of Amity and is deserved of special recognition, perhaps a charity fund in his name, to continue his work in Israel?

    Rest in Peace and my deepest sympathy to his wonderful family.

  2. January 5, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I was very fortunate to be able to call Ralph my friend. And what made Ralph so special was that when you were with him he made you feel special. He was just so remarkably friendly, warm and loving. He was truly one of the greatest men I have ever known and I can’t imagine a world without him.

    My condolences to the Rothstein family. Ralph will be missed but never forgotten.

  3. Barry Markowitz
    January 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I was very saddened by Ralph’s passing. He was a great man, always upbeat about everything. Every time I saw Ralph he had a big smile and was happy to be enjoying life. He made you feel better about life and I will always remember his firm handshake. He was a true gentlemen and I will miss him greatly. I offer my condolences to the Rothstein family and I know from personal experience that with time the pain does not go away, nor will you miss him any less, but you just go on with your life and will live it as he would have wanted you to, to the fullest. There will be times when you cry and times when you laugh thinking about him, but one thing you will always know is that he was great great person and a real mensch and will always be remembered by anyone he came in contact with.

  4. Don
    October 31, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I knew Ralph, only casually from seeing him at our Amity meetings. It was obvious from the way he smiled at me and the way he dressed that he was a confident and proud man who enjoyed his life and I think would have gone out of his way to offer his help to anyone.
    And from the other comments I have read, he must have been a true mensch.

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