‘Central Point lost a great man’
CENTRAL POINT — A beloved town dentist, community volunteer and preferred tennis and golfing buddy for a slew of locals over the years, Bruce M. Dingler passed away Monday, Jan. 24.
Dingler, 88, served on Central Point City Council as recently as 2018, and gave his time to several entities, including the District 6 School Board, Community Development Commission, city Budget Committee, his church food pantry and wherever else he found a need.
An avid Oregon Ducks fan, Dingler left behind scores of friends and family who say they’ll remember him for having a big heart and even bigger sense of humor.
His wife of 66 years, Marilyn Dinger, said that while his passing had not been a surprise, it was still difficult to rationalize that her husband of more than six decades was truly gone.
An example of his kindness came a few weeks ago, when Dingler fell on the couple’s front porch trying to collect the newspaper, despite limited mobility, to prevent his wife from risking a fall.
“Always taking care of everyone else,” she said. Her husband even left notes containing dates and other details to make his obituary easier on his loved ones.
“I’m having a terrible time trying to read Bruce’s writing, but he wanted to do this to make it easier for me,” she said.
“That was how he was. Always thinking of others.”
Born Jan. 8, 1934, in Klamath Falls, Dingler was a 1951 Klamath Union High graduate. An avid tennis player, he attended the University of Oregon on a tennis scholarship playing for his beloved Ducks.
He started college shortly after graduating high school, but he left after his first year to serve in the U.S. Army in 1952 during the Korean War. After the Army, he returned to school and graduated from the University of Oregon Dental School in 1963.
Dingler and his wife were married Dec. 3, 1955, and they raised three children; sons born in 1959 and 1960, and a daughter born in 1969. Following dental school he ran a practice in Raleigh Hills, near Portland, for about a year before being offered the chance to return to Southern Oregon to open what would become his longtime downtown practice.
Dingler’s oldest son, Brad, remembers tagging along for late-night dental emergencies, being taught about finance and his dad’s devotion to family and friends.
“Dad taught me a lot about finances when I was very young. He said, ‘Save, save, save.’ He was very practical, but also always willing to help anyone out. He was very understanding and compassionate — one of the most selfless individuals,” said the son.
“I remember ordinary things we would do together like going to the dump — loading everything in the pickup and driving down (at the time) the main street of Jacksonville. We would go wood-cutting every Saturday. Just good quality time together.”
Longtime friend Debbie Saxbury said Dingler was a treasured friend who would always offer a helping hand. She said, “Bruce, or ‘Newman’ is what I nicknamed him after the Seinfeld character, was my friend who I deeply respected, and he was a great man who loved this community.”
Central Point City Recorder Deanna Casey said Dingler’s passing was a loss for the entire community.
“Central Point lost a great man with the passing of Dr. Dingler. He was such a great asset to the city as a Central Point council member from 2006-2018, making sure council decisions kept the best interest of the citizens at the heart,” Casey said.
Mayor Hank Williams remembered Dingler coaching youth sports over the years in addition to his many volunteer roles and his ever-present sense of humor.
“We played golf twice a week with a group of other guys. He kept saying most of the clothes I was wearing had some kind of bank logo on them, and he said, ‘If you didn’t wear the stuff with logos, you wouldn’t have anything to wear.’ I was a banker my whole career,” Williams said with a laugh.
“He would give our friend, Dr. Olsen, heck for wearing a (Oregon) Beaver’s jacket, ‘cause Bruce was a dyed-in-the-wool Duck.”
Marilyn Dingler said the couple spent most of their married life in Central Point, save for a dozen years they lived in Medford. She said her fondest memories were of family time in a home off Old Stage Road where her husband doted on all the wildlife, and his years coaching their children in sports. Dingler had a strong faith and was a devoted member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Medford.
She said, “He was a good man. He had a strong faith and he was always willing to do anything for someone in need. Bruce dearly loved Central Point, and we’re all going to miss him very much.”
Dingler is survived by his three children; Bradley Dingler (Evelyn) of Arizona, Jeffrey Dingler (Rachel) of Portland, and Janey Giles (Dan) of Medford; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is also survived by two brothers, Ron Dingler of Medford and Don Reynolds of Ontario, and sister Margaret Wilding of San Diego.
He was preceded in death by his father, Otto Dingler, a stepmother, Lorraine, sister-in-law Nancy Morrow and daughter-in-law Lori Dingler.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dingler’s memory to the Crater Foundation, PO Box 5172, Central Point, OR 97502.
To donate online, see https://craterfoundation.district6.org/ways-to-help/
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at email@example.com.