Dr. Alexander Anton
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CAPE ELIZABETH -- Dr. Alexander Anton, of Cape Elizabeth, died on Oct. 28, 2012, after a brief illness. Alexander had a long, full life and was a respected Portland orthodontist for most of his career until his retirement in 1986.
Alexander was born to Albanian immigrant parents in Biddeford in 1919. At age five, he started school in the second grade and had to learn English. His father and relatives were true entrepreneurs. He often spoke about delivering milk with his father by horse-drawn wagon and then by truck. He worked in the family bowling alley and pool hall and remembers having the unpleasant job of cleaning spittoons. Alexander was proud of his Albanian heritage and was further enriched by other immigrant families of French and Greek descent who lived in the community.
In 1936, Alexander graduated from Biddeford High School and went to Colby College where he graduated in 1939. He then went on to Harvard Dental School and graduated in 1942. At Harvard, some of his strongest friendships were forged. He and his 'Class of 42' fellow dentists took numerous sailing trips together through the years and were always the life of the party. Upon graduation from dental school, Alexander joined the United States Army. He served in the 97th Field Hospital and was last stationed in Schofield Barracks in Hawaii awaiting the orders to invade Japan. He left the Army in 1946 having achieved the rank of Major.
After the war, Alexander returned to Biddeford with his wife, Jean Cardwell Anton and young daughter, Connie, and began his dental practice. In 1949, he moved to Cape Elizabeth and established his orthodontic practice on Deering Street in Portland. As an orthodontist, Dr. Anton was a perfectionist. He took great pride in his work and through his efforts he bought beautiful smiles to his patients. In later years, former patients would see him and give him a hug, a thank you and a smile for giving them confidence in their appearance. He donated his time and skill to local dental clinics.
Alexander was an accomplished wood worker and built much of the family furniture including a couch, end tables, coffee tables as well as kitchen cabinets and a bathroom. He also built his own radios and even the family's first color TV. He did his own plumbing, carpentry and electrical work and taught his children
Dr. Alexander Anton
how to do basic wiring, soldering and how to sweat copper pipe. He loved the water and built a kayak many years before they became ubiquitous. He also enjoyed SCUBA diving, sailing and body surfing at Old Orchard Beach.
He was extremely well read and had a passion for history and philosophy and practiced Transcendental Meditation. He enjoyed classical music and spirited debates; you needed to be well prepared if you expected to win an argument with him. He was excited about the possibilities of science and in the early 1960's, he gave his family a lecture in the living room on Watson and Crick's newly- discovered double helix DNA.
Upon retirement, Alexander continued to go to his office daily to read the papers and to discuss politics, business, the markets, and history and with his long-time friend, Dr. Peter Kelly.
In 1994, Alexander established the Stephanie Anton Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor his daughter. The fund provides financial assistance for Zuni, N.M., students who pursue higher education in humanities.
His children will most remember him as a wonderful father who tried to prepare them for life's difficulties but to be ready and equipped to take advantage of life's opportunities. He was generous and kind, and his loyalty to family and friends was unmatched.
He is survived by Dr. Constance Anton Price and her husband Greg of Emmittsburg, Md.; Andrea Anton of Portland; Eric Anton and his wife Elizabeth of Falmouth; and grandchildren, Alexandra Barker, Olivia Barker, Pamela Shockey, Eric T. Anton, and Marilyn Anton. Alexander was also very proud to have five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a niece, a nephew and cousins. He was predeceased by Stephanie, his daughter in 1994; his sister, Eleanor Anton Lund of Saco and his brother, Dr. Thomas Anton of Old Orchard Beach.
Final arrangements will be held in the future. Arrangements were made by the Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Rd., South Portland.
Donations in his
honor can be made to:
The Stephanie Anton Memorial Scholarship Fund
Zuni Public School District
P.O. Drawer A
Zuni, New Mexico 87327
or Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Breast Cancer Research
10 Brookline Place, 6th Floor Brookline, Massachusetts 02455
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on November 8, 2012