Services for Dr. Ahmed A. Uthman, a retired professor of oral medicine at the University at Buffalo Dental School and a leader in the Kurdish-American community, were held Saturday in his Williamsville home. Burial was in Clarence Fillmore Cemetery.
Dr. Uthman died last Wednesday in Williamsville from complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 74.
Born and raised in Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdish portion of Iraq, he was an honors student in high school and was awarded a scholarship to study dentistry at Leeds University in England, graduating in 1957. In 1963, he received a fellowship in dental surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Returning to Iraq, he ran a clinic and taught dentistry at the University of Baghdad until being appointed dean of the dental school in 1970.
Shortly before leaving the country in 1972, he treated Saddam Hussein, then a vice president in the Iraqi government. Aside from an impacted canine tooth, he "had very good teeth -- excellent teeth," Dr. Uthman said two years ago in an interview in The Buffalo News.
He came to the UB Dental School as an exchange professor in 1972 and remained on the faculty until he retired in 1999. A leading expert on temporomandibular joint disorder, a jaw joint dysfunction, and an experienced clinician in oral medicine, he traveled and lectured extensively. He became an American citizen in 1980.
Dr. Uthman was a founding member and president of the Kurdish American Medical Association. He also was a founding member, secretary and executive vice president of the Kurdish National Congress of North America and a member of the board of the Washington Kurdish Institute.
Respected as a great Kurdish patriot and a pillar in the Kurdish community, he worked tirelessly to improve Kurdish rights in Iraq.
In 1974, he was part of a delegation that went to the United Nations to call attention to the plight of the Kurds. He led several pro-Kurdish teach-ins and demonstrations here in the early 1990s following the Gulf War.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, the former Barbara Woollard; three daughters, Joanne Schultz, Vianne Canell and Suzanne Canell, all of Williamsville; a son, Allan of Buffalo; two brothers; three sisters; a half-brother; three half-sisters; and five grandchildren.