I Lost My Best Friend

by Jordan Soll, BSc (Hon.), DDS, Dip. ABAD

On January 25th I lost my best friend of 40 years, Dr. Michael Weinberg. We were as close as Batman and Robin, Abbott and Costello, Kato and the Green Hornet, Maverick and Goose and yes, Lilo and Stitch. Michael was my wing man and I was his. We met in the summer of 1972 at summer camp and instantly hit it off. There wasn’t anything we did not share and we quickly became “brothers from different mothers.” But Michael was so much more. He was a supportive son, a reliable brother and brother-in-law, involved uncle as well as a proud father and a faithful husband. He was also a professional. Michael was incredibly passionate about life and when he was in the room B.S. had no where to hide. As he would often tell me, “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”

As a dentist, Michael excelled. Graduating in 1982 from the University of Western Ontario he and his respected business partner of 29 years, Dr. Jay Niman, built a flourishing practice and were so proud of their new office at Yonge and St. Clair, which was completed in May of 2009. Michael was a “dentist’s dentist.” He was extremely proficient in the placement and restoration of dental implants, a sub specialty in which he became very well known for his clinical expertise, a lecturer and representative for Zimmer Implant Corporation, and mentor to many young dentists. This passion culminated in achieving the status of Fellow of the Inter­national Congress of Oral Implantologist. Michael also poured his heart and time into the Toronto Crown and Bridge Study Club, Toronto’s most prestigious study club for continuing dental education. Rising through the ranks, Michael contributed countless hours organizing meetings and searching for the perfect speakers. His efforts resulted in Michael being appointed to the presidency of the organization in the spring of 2011. Though he was not able to see this honour through, Michael saw to it that all was arranged for the meetings he was in charge of, achieving the highest attendance records as a direct result of the quality of the speakers that he selected. In December of 2011, Michael was awarded the Presi­dent’s Pin to acknowledge his tremendous contribution to the organization. In addition, the Toronto Crown and Bridge Study Club has created the “Dr. Michael Weinberg Award” to be given to the 2nd year dental student at the University of Western Ontario Dental School who exhibits the greatest degree of proficiency in Crown and Bridge.

To unwind, Michael was an avid golfer and adamantly felt that the calendar was divided into two seasons, skiing and golf. As a non golfer, I sometimes made the mistake of calling him when a tournament was on TV. No hello, just “I’m watching Tiger”-click. He was ecstatic when he joined Club Link and treasured every moment he could be swinging the clubs. For Michael it wasn’t just about the game but also the camaraderie that went with it.

To compliment the skiing and golfing, Michael showed his softer side with his love of food which progressed to his love of cooking. It was not unusual for me to get emails simply showing his latest creations, especially his Lemon Meringue Pie. He would call our home to share his cooking skills with my wife, Sandi, such as the secret to great Beer Battered Chicken. Two years ago Michael renovated his kitchen, which quickly became his “pride and joy,” so that he could really let his talent shine through. Michael also enjoyed fine wine and a good cigar, especially after a great day of skiing and sharing a hot tub with friends.

That was the Mikey I knew and loved; whether it was giving a lecture, sitting around the 19th hole with drinks or working his way through the moguls at the end of the day dreaming of the massage he had booked, he always enjoyed where he was. We shared 40 years of memories and amazing times celebrating and supporting in each others triumphs and tragedies. We didn’t always agree, but we always respected who we were and the history that we shared.

When Michael was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in April 2011 he was determined to fight as hard as he could, and he did. This was not how it was supposed to be and this is the last thing anyone who knew Michael thought they would be reading about. Michael lived life to the fullest. Whether it be certified as a scuba diver, going on the Alpha Omega ski trips, joining Club Link and playing golf as much as he could, honing his cooking skills, being an amateur photographer, travelling or learning about wine — he decided that life was to be lived and was not going to wait for retirement. He accomplished a lot and as many of us know, he was not one to shy away from offering his thoughts. Even now Mikey is looking down at me and saying, “Yeah, not bad, you could have written about… but overall, OK.” Many of you who knew Michael have fond memories and special times that were shared with him and I would ask you to take a moment and remember yours.

Michael, I love you.

I’ll see you when I see you.

Michael is survived by his wife Ruth-Ann, son Zachary and daughter Erin. OH

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