Dr. Joseph P. Tironi, who practiced dentistry in Three Rivers, and provided dental services to the poor in Guatemala and St. Lucia, died on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 in Holland, Michigan, at the age of 87.
Joe was born in 1930 in Raton, New Mexico. His father, Pasquale, worked as a miner and bricklayer. His mother, Carolina (Rubini), was a homemaker. Joe grew up with his brothers Mario, Gino, and John. His twin siblings Rafaello and Rosa died before Joe was born.
The family moved to Baltimore, Maryland when Joe was 12 years old, then to Detroit, where Joe graduated from Detroit Northeastern High School in 1947. Joe went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Detroit, then worked as a pharmaceutical representative for E. R. Squibb & Sons and for Shering Corporation.
Joe met his beloved wife, MaryAnn Kaminski Tironi, at a church dance in Detroit. After Joe and MaryAnn married, Joe attended the University of Detroit School of Dentistry.
After graduating from dental school, Joe served as Senior Dental Surgeon in the U.S. Public Health Service at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, then opened a private practice of general dentistry in Three Rivers.
Joe and MaryAnn were committed to helping the underserved. They traveled to Guatemala with a dental school classmate and eight senior dental students to do charity dentistry. For over ten years Joe and MaryAnn volunteered annually at St. Jude’s Hospital in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, West Indies.
Joe was an active member of numerous professional associations, including the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association. Joe was one of the first dentists in Michigan to qualify for a Fellowship of the Academy of General Dentistry, which was conferred on Joe in 1971. The Michigan Academy of General Dentistry awarded Joe the Humanitarian Award in recognition of his many years of volunteer service for the people of St. Lucia.
A Memorial Mass for Mr. and Mrs. Tironi will be celebrated 11:00am Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 480 152nd Ave., Holland.
Joe was instrumental in supporting the passage of a Michigan law to permit retired dentists to obtain a special volunteer license for treating the underserved. He received a framed copy of the bill from Rep. Rick Shaffer.
Joe served his adopted home town of Three Rivers through participation in numerous civic organizations, including the Three Rivers Rotary Club, where he served as president. He was also active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, and the Kiwanis Club of Three Rivers, where he served as vice president. Many of his civic activities were in support of local education. An active member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Joe served was an usher and a member of the Knights of Columbus, where he served as Grand Knight. Joe and MaryAnn taught religion classes to high school students.
An automobile accident in 1989 severely injured Joe and MaryAnn, and forced Joe into retirement. After the accident, Joe donated much of his dental office equipment to St. Jude Hospital in St. Lucia. Joe and MaryAnn found hobbies that he and MaryAnn could enjoy together despite their disabilities, such as collecting antiques. Joe especially enjoyed automobile and petroleum memorabilia. He also loved reading adventure novels, particularly those written by Daniel Silva, Lee Child, Ben Coes and David Baldacci.
Joe is survived by his wife MaryAnn and their daughters Lisa, Paula and Angela, five grandchildren, and his brother Mario.
A memorial service will take place at a time and date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Three Rivers Area Community Foundation.
Arrangements by Lakeshore Memorial Services in Holland, Michigan.