Ralph 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.