Dr. William P. McCrae, 86, passed away on March 9, 2013 at Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, NJ, where he was surrounded during his last days by the love of family members, friends, and devoted patients of his dental practice.
Born in Orange, NJ on Nov. 30, 1926, he graduated from West Orange High School in 1944 and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II as Seaman First Class (Quartermaster) on two aircraft carriers, the SS Randolph and the USS Philippine Sea.
Following an honorable discharge, Dr. McCrae pursued his passion for dentistry, attending The University of Scranton for pre-dental studies and graduating from University of Georgetown Dental School in 1953. In 1954, he opened his dental practice in Whippany, NJ, and moved the practice in 1959 to his home in Convent Station, NJ, where he remained until his recent death.
Dr. McCrae loved life and his life’s work, and continued to practice dentistry part-time even after his official retirement in June 2009. During his 59 years of practice, he touched many lives in the Morris County area and beyond, sharing in his patients’ joys and sorrows as he provided superb dental care to generations of families. He also continued to volunteer regularly as an attending dental staff member at Morristown Memorial Hospital, where he helped teach dental students for more than 45 years.
One of Dr. McCrae’s many gifts was his ability to treat patients with developmental disabilities with care and compassion. In addition to welcoming these patients in his private practice, he administered general anesthesia and performed dental work for people with developmental disabilities as a volunteer at the former All Souls Hospital in Morristown. He also served on the professional advisory board of The Arc/Morris County Chapter, which named him Health Professional of the Year in 1992.
Over the course of his career, Dr. McCrae was committed to giving back both to his profession and his community. He served as president of the Tri-County Dental Society from 1981-1982, and as a New Jersey state trustee from 1984-1985. He was a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates from 1990-2000, and a member of the New Jersey House of Delegates for many years. In addition, he was a distinguished Fellow in the American College of Dentists, a trustee of the New Jersey Section of the American College of Dentists, and served on many councils of the New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA). In June 2002, Dr. McCrae received the Dr. Theodore V. Symanski Lifetime Achievement Award (the NJDA’s highest honor) “in grateful recognition of a unique level of service to the profession by reason of longtime involvement and dedication.”
His community activities included serving as president of the Kiwanis Club of The Hanovers in 1958, and as a member of the Morris School District Board of Education from 1972-1974, during the merger of the Morristown and Morris Township school districts.
Dr. McCrae also loved the Jersey shore and was an avid saltwater fishing and sailing enthusiast. Over the years, he spent much of his free time at his residence in Seaside Park, competing in sailing races on the Barnegat Bay, trolling for bluefish in the Atlantic, and spending time with family. He was an active member of the Seaside Park Yacht Club and served as Commodore in 1974 and 1975.
Son of the late Fred J. and Mae V. McCrae, Dr. McCrae was married to his wife, Alma, for 58 years until her death in August 2010. He is also pre-deceased by his brother, George T. McCrae, of Manahawkin, NJ.
Dr. McCrae is survived by his five devoted children and their spouses: Michael McCrae and wife Betty of Toms River, NJ; Sharon McCrae and husband David Bonk of Pennington, NJ; John McCrae and wife Rosemary of Colts Neck, NJ; Mary McCrae of Chatham, NJ; and Jeanne McCrae Ashe of Quakertown, PA. He is also survived by his brother, Fred J. McCrae, of Atco, NJ; nine grandchildren (Jamie, Christina, Christopher, Tierney, André, Renée, Charlotte, Hayley, Liberty); two great grandchildren (Landon and Sylvia); and many nieces and nephews.