Hector Bethart, 92, of Gainesville, FL, died peacefully Saturday, July 6, at Malcom Randall V.A. Medical Center. He was born August 22, 1920 in Havana, Cuba to Luis and Marie Bethart. He graduated from The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina in 1943 and received his DDS from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts in 1946. While in the US Army, he was decorated with the Legion of Merit, with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Medical Badge for his services in WWII and the Korean War. Col. Bethart was the first dentist in the U.S. Army to receive his Master Parachutist Badge and made two combat jumps during the Korean War. The National Rakkasan Association awarded him the Distinguished Member of the Regiment in 1998. He retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Colonel in 1968 after 30 years of service to his country. Prior to his tenure at the University of Florida, Dr. Bethart was on faculty at the University of Alabama College of Dentistry, Birmingham, until mid-1972. Then he tenured at the University of Kentucky Dental College, retiring from his position as Assistant Dean for Continuing Education in 1978. He retired from the University of Florida, Gainesville, as the Assistant Dean for Advanced Education in 1989. Upon his retirement he was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus by the University of Florida College of Dentistry. The Florida section of the Academy of Dentistry presented Dr. Bethart the Man of the Year Award for his contributions to dental education and to the profession. He had been a fellow of the American College of Dentists for more than 50 years and was honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Hector never met a stranger and loved to tell stories from his days in Cuba, the military, and as a dentist and professor. All of them spoke of his passion for serving others as well as a deep and abiding love for each and every aspect of his evolving career over the years. He was a strong believer that to reach the greatest amount of satisfaction in any task, you must have a love for it. His experiences and stories are cherished by all of those who shared or heard them. Col. Bethart was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Marie Bethart; wife, Margaret W. Bethart; brother, Luis Bethart, Jr., Miami, FL; sister, Marie Bethart Livingston Wakley, SLC, UT; brother, Edgar J. Bethart, Plant City, FL; and grandson, Gary Michael Bethart, Gainesville, FL. Col. Bethart is survived by his wife Margaret Maxfield, Gainesville, FL; his children, Katherine Marie Bethart Nanosky (John), Tuscon, AZ; Michael Keagy (Michele), Youngstown, OH; Gary Hector Bethart, Nashville, TN; and Nancy Jo Bethart Marefat (Daryoush), Lexington, KY. He is also survived by 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM at Queen of Peace Catholic Church with military honors, 10900 S.W. 24th Ave, Gainesville, with Fr. Kazimierz Ligeza as Celebrant. Arrangements are under the care of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME DOWNTOWN, 404 North Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Retirement Home For Horses, Inc., P.O. Box 2100, Alachua, FL 32616-2100. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION WILLIAMS-THOMAS DOWNTOWN (352) 376-7556. Tags: 1949

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