GULF STREAM — Dr. John Roland Westine died May 13 while swimming in the warm Gulf Stream waters in front of his home of 50 years. He was 91.
Although Dr. Westine was born into humble circumstances to two Swedish immigrants on Chicago’s South Side, he quickly proved to be extraordinary. While growing up, his motivation, talents and work ethic secured him a variety of jobs from playing jazz piano in Windy City nightclubs, to serving as captain of the lifeguards on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Despite never reading a book until his college years, Dr. Westine was academically gifted and graduated as salutatorian of his high school. That, along with his swimming talents, earned him a scholarship to North Central College. His motivation to learn expedited his graduation from North Central and subsequently Dental School at the University of Chicago.
He became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force and was one of the first oral surgeons to be trained by the USAF.
Tiring of the cold Chicago winters, Dr. Westine moved to Delray Beach in 1962 and established one of the first oral maxillofacial surgery practices in Palm Beach County.
His meticulous and compassionate work over more than 60 years, covering Bethesda Hospital, Delray Medical Center and JFK Medical Center, earned him admiration and respect from colleagues and patients. His leadership was evident in many ways, such as his writing and advocating for the passage of state laws to protect patients, and in the creation of the American College of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons, where he served as president during its early years and continued as editor of its newsletter.
Through writing and innovative ideas, Dr. Westine influenced and helped develop the future of the surgical subspecialty. His impact reached internationally as a founding member and past president of the International College for Maxillofacial Surgery. Two days before his death, Dr. Westine had returned from the Maldives, where he chaired a panel during the organization’s 50th-anniversary activities.
A kind and giving spirit pervaded all of Dr. Westine’s endeavors, including his philanthropic efforts like the creation of the International Foundation for Children with Cranial-facial Disorders, a 501(c)(3) organization.
Dr. Westine traveled to Asia, Africa and Latin America, collaborating with colleagues to help children in need and providing badly needed supplies and equipment. Last fall, he returned from Nigeria, where IFCCD donated a blood bank and a generator for a hospital and an operating room where electricity was not reliable. Dr. Westine also procured anesthesia equipment, donated last year by Delray Medical Center, for use by the WE CARE organization in Cameroon.
IFCCD also supports CLAYPA, a Mexican not-for-profit organization that performs surgical repairs on children with cleft lip and palate deformities.
After returning from each of his mission trips and adventures to his home on the beach in Gulf Stream, he frequently reaffirmed that he lived in paradise. Nowhere in the world could compare to his backyard, where he enjoyed almost daily swims in the Atlantic Ocean.
Dr. Westine continued to be a voracious reader and lifelong learner and to run his practice and take trauma calls at two hospitals until his death.
Dr. Westine — fondly known as Big Bad Dad, or BBD — boldly lived his life on his own terms with no regrets, and appreciated and loved his family, friends, colleagues and co-workers.
Dr. Westine was predeceased by his parents, John Emanuel Westine and Greta Margret Westine (Larsson), and his sisters, Lorraine Westine and Mary Jane Westine.
He is survived by his four children, Lynn Valerie Westine (George Fleeson), Lezlee Jean Westine, Lauralee Ganson Westine (Robert Gualtieri), and John Ganson Westine (Tina).
In addition he leaves nine grandchildren, Nicole Leyton Rosser (Jay), Jennifer Leyton Armakan (Eric), Taylor Lynn Cramer (Ben), John Ganson Westine II, Grayson Kim Westine, Marin Elise Westine, Lauren Ganson Westine Gualtieri, Jordanna Linne Gualtieri, and Christina Leigh Gualtieri; and six great-grandchildren, Noelle Rosser, Sam Rosser, Beau Rosser, Eliana Armakan, Valentina Armakan and Camila Armakan.
He will also be dearly missed by his loyal friends and office staff, Kelley and Lisa; his Tuesday doctors’ lunch group; and Marley, his grand-dog.
Please join us at a celebration of his life, 4-8 p.m. June 17 at the Seagate Beach Club, 400 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach.
In lieu of flowers, Dr. Westine’s family is requesting consideration of a contribution to IFCCD, 250 Dixie Blvd., Suite 100, Delray Beach, FL 33444, www.ifccd.org, where his family will continue his passion for providing care for children with cranial facial disorders.
— Obituary submitted by the family