Oct. 20, 1929 – May 3, 2018
Dr. Fred Douglas Archer Jr., the first African-American to serve as president of the Erie County Dental Society, died May 3 in his Amherst home. He was 88.
Born in Reidsville, N.C., an only child, he graduated with honors from Booker T. Washington High School there in 1946 and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1950 from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., where he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and played the role of Cassius in “Othello.”
Drafted into the Marine Corps, he served in Puerto Rico during the Korean War. Following his discharge, he came to Buffalo to join his mother in 1953 and worked at Bethlehem Steel.
A cousin, Dr. James E. Moore, who was a dentist in Washington, D.C., invited him to come take a look at the College of Dentistry at Howard University. Impressed, he took the entrance exam and was accepted.
While there, he met Janet Craig, an elementary school teacher who was the sister of his cousin’s wife. They were married in 1957.
After earning his degree in 1960, Dr. Archer was invited to join the dental college faculty. He taught for two years, then decided to move back to Buffalo to be closer to his family. He opened a practice above a bank branch at Fillmore Avenue and East Utica Street with a focus on fixed prosthodontics, providing crowns, bridges and dentures.
He became an instructor in dental materials in the dental assistant program at the University at Buffalo Urban Center in 1968. The following year, he became one of the first African-Americans to become a clinical instructor in UB Dental School’s Department of Restorative Dentistry. He later became a clinical associate professor in the Department of Oral Medicine’s emergency clinic.
He retired from teaching and his private practice in 1997 and joined the staff of the Western New York Dental Group, where he worked alongside some of his former students. He continued seeing patients until 2009.
“He was an excellent dentist,” his wife said. “He loved dentistry. His patients loved him and his students loved him.”
The first African-American to serve as president of the Erie County Dental Society and the Eighth District Dental Society, he was a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. He also was a member of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Society chapter at the UB Dental School.
He also was a member of the Shaw University Alumni Association and the Howard University Dental Alumni Association and was the first president of the Greater Buffalo Howard University Alumni Association.
Selected as one of the Uncrowned Kings of Buffalo, he received the Outstanding Member Award and a Man of the Year Award from the Upstate Medical Alliance. He received the Howard University Alumni Achievement Award, was honored by the S.E.N.S.E.S. Foundation for contributions to health education and received the Frank Stone Memorial Award from the Erie County Dental Society.
He was a member of the Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP, the Urban League, the College Fund (UNCF), the Willow Ridge Civic Association and the board of directors of Beechwood Continuing Care. He also had been a member of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church since 1962.
In addition to his wife, who became a Buffalo school administrator and helped establish the Early Push program, survivors include two sons, Dr. Fred D. III and Richard C.; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, May 14, in Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, 641 Masten Ave.