November 8, 2012

Feature obituary: Alexander Anton, 93, early Portland orthodontist

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – Dr. Alexander Anton, a respected Portland orthodontist, who got satisfaction from making it easier for people to smile, died on Oct. 28. He was 93.

click image to enlarge

Alexander Anton

Family photo

PASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

Dr. Anton, a 1936 graduate of Biddeford High School, graduated from Colby College in Waterville, then Harvard Dental School in 1942. His career was sidelined by World War II when he joined the Army and served in the 97th Field Hospital. He earned the rank of major and was discharged in 1946.

Dr. Anton returned to Biddeford and set up his dentistry practice there.

In 1949, he moved to Cape Elizabeth and established his orthodontic practice on Deering Street in Portland. At the time there was only one or two other orthodontists practicing in the greater Portland area.

Eric Anton, of Falmouth, the youngest of his four children, said his fatherwas a perfectionist who took pride in helping to improve the appearance of his patients. He also donated his time and talents to local dental clinics.

"He liked the detailed work and the outcome. He liked the fact that he could take someone with a bad bite or smile and correct it," his son said.

Dr. Anton was an accomplished woodworker, an avid sailor, a deep thinker and a dedicated family man, who took pride in his Albanian heritage.

Dr. Anton's parents were Albanian immigrants. His son remembers going to his grandparents' house every Sunday for dinner. He said the family had spirited discussions about politics, the Vietnam War and Cuban Missile Crisis.

"The discussions were heated and we were always listening wide-eyed to some of the comments. It was no holds barred," his son said. "At the end of the meals, the girls would give the men dessert and cigars. It was real old-school. It was fun."

Dr. Anton was married to Jean Anton for 30 years. The couple divorced in 1972.

Dr. Anton was remembered by his children on Wednesday as a supportive, yet tough father, who prepared his kids for life's challenges.

"He always wanted the best for us," his son said. "He would often say he expected us to do better than our best. He realized it was a very competitive world and to do well you had to compete. He wanted us to be prepared for life's opportunities and to succeed on our own."

His daughter, Andrea Anton, of Portland, agreed. She said her father was always there for her when she needed him.

"I'll miss him being around," she said. "He was totally with it. He always wanted to know what we were doing and how everyone was."

Dr. Anton had passions for sailing, and woodworking, history and philosophy.

His son said he built most of their furniture and was capable of doing most home repairs, from carpentry to plumbing work. His daughter chuckled, recalling her father's failed attempt to use old radiators as a mooring for his boat.

For years after he retired, Dr. Anton would drive into Portland to his old orthodontist office to read the newspaper and meet his longtime friend, Dr. Peter Kelly for lunch. He did this until June when his health began to decline.

His son said he will miss his father's insights about life and his love for his family.

"He was a great man, who had a good life and we miss him already," he said. 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

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