Henry J. Sazima, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, dies at 85

August 24, 2013

Henry J. Sazima, a retired Navy dental corps oral and maxillofacial surgeon who later became the executive director of the Academy of Dentistry International in Washington, died July 12 at Arleigh Burke Pavilion, an assisted-living facility in McLean. He was 85.

The cause was renal failure and complications from a stroke in 2003, said his daughter, Holly Davani.

Dr. Sazima, a Bethesda resident, served in the Navy’s Reserve Dental Corps for 33 years. He enlisted in the Navy in 1948 and served two tours in Vietnam.

In the early 1980s, he served as the assistant deputy chief of the dental division of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington and he was the director of the resources division at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington. His last active-duty assignment was deputy commander of the readiness and logistics division at the Bethesda Naval Medical Command before he retired as a rear admiral in 1987.

He then became the executive director of the Academy of Dentistry International’s Washington office. He retired in 2000 and continued to serve as director emeritus until 2003.

Henry John Sazima received a bachelor’s degree in 1948 and a dental degree in 1953 from what became Case Western Reserve University in his native Cleveland. In 1969, he received a master’s in education from what is now Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and moved to Bethesda in 1980.

His military honors included two awards of the Legion of Merit, two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

Dr. Sazima was a clinical associate professor emeritus at Georgetown University, where he taught oral and maxillofacial surgery at the school’s dental school and medical center from 1988 until 1992. He received professional awards from the Academy of Dentistry International and was a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. In 2003, he moved from Bethesda to McLean.

His marriage, to Carol Watson, ended in divorce. Survivors include a daughter, Holly Davani of Hunt Valley, Md.; a brother; and two grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough

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