Pioneering oral health researcher Greene dies
His career saw posts as deputy surgeon general and chief dental officer of the U.S. Public Health Service in addition to his research and service as dean of the University of California, San Francisco’s dental school.
UCSF credits Greene with helping establish the university as a highly regarded research institution. He served as president of both the American and International Associations for Dental Research and the American Association of Dental Schools. UCSF’s student-led dental research organization, the John C. Greene Society, bears his name.
His most visible role took him to spring training with the San Francisco Giants baseball team in 1987, where he cautioned players about chewing tobacco’s cancer risk. Freelance writer and former university spokesman Andy Evangelista recalled that Greene showed up "with a baseball cap, mixing it up with Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, who came to spring training as advisers, and some of the 'younger' players like Mike Krukow and Will Clark.”
Greene’s service as UCSF’s dental school dean from 1981 to 1995 capped a career that began as a Navy electronics technician in World War II before he earned a dentistry degree from the University of Louisville in 1952.
"Dr. Greene lived a life filled with extraordinary achievements," John Featherstone, UCSF's dean of the School of Dentistry, said in an obituary posted on the university's website. "He will be greatly missed."