Dental Society Mourns R.E. Ley Sr.
The death of my great-grandfather, Robert Earl Ley Sr., caught his family and colleagues by surprise. None more so than my grandfather, his son and dental partner, Robert Earl Ley Jr.
The father and son were working alongside each other, as usual, the morning of Saturday, Feb. 7, 1959, when, according to family legend, great-grandpa Ley complained about a strange feeling in his hands while washing up.
He collapsed, and died of a heart attack shortly after 11 a.m. He was 65 years old.
Oddly, Robert Ley Sr. was the second Ley to die while at work. His grandfather, Augustus Ley, died of a stroke while working in his Port Washington, Ohio, dry goods store. He was just 61.
And R.E. Ley Sr.’s father, Charles Henry Ley, former county treasurer, had also died of a heart attack 34 years earlier, at just 59 years old, while gardening at his home. Great-great grandfather Charles had been warned by doctors to retire and commit himself to less strenuous activity.
On the day following R. E. Ley Sr.’s death, his son and fellow Tuscarawas County dentists gathered and issued a proclamation in his honor.
From the Feb. 10, 1959, edition of the Dover Daily Reporter, 65 years ago this month:
Unanimously adopted by the Tuscarawas Dental Society in special meeting assembled, Feb. 8, 1959.
WHEREAS, on Feb. 7th, 1959, God in His wisdom suddenly claimed to his eternal rest our colleague and friend, Dr. Robert Earl Ley Sr., and
WHEREAS, during the more than 40 years of his professional practice among us he was a most valued member of the Tuscarawas County Dental Society, having served as its President as well as in many other capacities, and
WHEREAS, in these services he gave so willingly of his time and talents toward the good of our profession and our Society, and
WHEREAS, through military service and a natural active interest in his fellow man, he took his place and did his part that his neighborhood, his community, our state and nation might be a better place in which to live, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, we do mourn our loss; we bring to his widow and to his son, Dr. Robert E. Ley Jr., who is our esteemed colleague and was his father’s associate, our sincere sympathies in their even greater loss; and finally, direct this resolution be made a part of the records of this Society, a copy thereof be delivered to his bereaved widow, Mrs. Florence A. Ley, and this resolution be printed in the daily press.
THE TUSCARAWAS COUNTY DENTAL SOCIETY
Following his father’s death, my grandpa Robert Earl Ley Jr. would continue to practice dentistry in their office at 2nd and Walnut Streets for another 32 years. His stepmother, great-grandpa Ley’s widow, Florence (Jones) Ley, would reside in the apartment above the office until her death in 1984.
Breaking the cycle of three generations of Ley men dying before their mid-60s, grandpa Robert Earl Ley Jr. would live to age 89, equaling the lifespan of his great-great grandfather and first Ley in America, Karl Ley.