Daniel Fackrell, left, attends a Portland Sea Dogs game last summer with his wife, Heather, and their sons, Gavin, front, Ashton, back left, and Nathan. Photo courtesy of Heather Fackrell

No one enjoys going to have a root canal, but Dr. Daniel Fackrell focused his career on making the procedure a good experience for patients.

He was passionate about helping people feel better, said his wife, Heather Fackrell.

“People came to him in extreme pain,” she said. “But he found it very fulfilling that he could send them away pain-free.”

Fackrell, 50, was an endodontist and the co-owner of Greater Portland Endodontics, a father of three and an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Yarmouth. He lived in Cumberland.

Fackrell was driving home through Gray after picking up his eldest son from a friend’s camp Saturday night when police say another vehicle hit them head-on on State Route 100, also known as Portland Road.

The driver, Jean Claude Nshimiyimana, of South Portland, has been charged with manslaughter and operating under the influence.


“Our hearts are shattered to lose him,” said Heather Fackrell, 46.

The couple has three sons: Nathan, 15, Gavin, 14 and Ashton, 11.

Nathan, who had been at his friend’s camp and was riding in the passenger seat when the crash happened around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, was uninjured. Ashton, who had gone along for the ride and was sitting in the backseat, dislocated his hip and suffered several abrasions, his mother said.

Ashton Fackrell was still in the hospital Monday but is expected to make a full recovery. The crash has been traumatizing for the boys, Heather Fackrell said.

Daniel Fackrell, center, fishes with his sons Nathan, left, and Ashton on the Royal River in Yarmouth on Friday. Photo courtesy of Heather Fackrell

“They had such a close relationship with their dad and they are missing him,” she said. “He was everything to them and they were everything to him.”



Daniel Fackrell was originally from Provo, Utah. While in college at Brigham Young University, a friend joked that they should go into dentistry after graduation and the idea stuck, Heather Fackrell said.

“He was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do this,’ ” she said. “He finished dental school and the portion of dentistry he enjoyed the absolute most was doing root canals. He became known as the root canal dentist, and then he went back to school to specialize.”

As an endodontist, Daniel Fackrell specialized in root canals and the repair of tissues inside the tooth.

“Dr. Fackrell enjoys the time he gets to spend with his patients and helping them solve their dental needs,” states a short biography of Fackrell on Greater Portland Endodontics’ website.

“The comfort and relief of pain he can provide patients is what he finds most rewarding. He knows that visiting a dentist is not at the top of anyone’s bucket list. Because of this, ‘Dr. Dan’ strives to allow the patient a relaxed, stress-free, comfortable environment.”

A person who answered the phone at Greater Portland Endodontics on Monday declined to be interviewed for this story.


Fackrell and his wife, who is also from Utah, met when he was doing his residency in Salt Lake City and they were introduced by their siblings. Heather Fackrell’s sister was dating Daniel’s brother. While their siblings are no longer together, Heather and Daniel’s relationship stuck.

Heather Fackrell’s first impression of Daniel – whom she called “Danny” – was that he was very handsome, confident and “had a good head on his shoulders.”

“He was quiet but I could tell he was taking everything in,” Heather Fackrell said. “He just let me talk and talk and talk.”

She later came to appreciate his ability to always believe in her.

The couple moved to Maine in 2013 for Daniel Fackrell’s job. He went to dental school at the University of Connecticut and took a job in Park City, Utah, but when the job didn’t work out they decided to accept an offer that Daniel received in Maine, Heather Fackrell said.

He eventually took over as co-owner of the company, now known as Greater Portland Endodontics, and they settled in Cumberland.


“We made a life for ourselves out here and I think it only brought us closer together,” Heather Fackrell said.


She said her husband’s faith was very important to him, and he served as elders quorum president at their church. He would teach scripture lessons on Sundays and organized service and projects, like bringing people together to help another church member move.

He loved his family and enjoyed hiking, fishing and camping with his sons. He also would spend time around the house with Gavin, who has autism, Heather Fackrell said. “My husband would spend time pushing him on his swing and playing video games,” she said.

They also liked “Just Dance,” a video game that challenges players to mimic dance moves being displayed in the video. “We have a ball playing that,” she said.

Daniel Fackrell turned 50 on July 2, and he had a few days off work around the July 4 holiday to spend with his family. They set off fireworks, went to see a movie, and went floating and fishing on the Royal River in Yarmouth.


“They were having the absolute time of their lives pulling in fish, just being on the water and being in his canoe,” Heather Fackrell said.

In addition to his family, Heather Fackrell said Daniel will be missed by his many patients and people who knew him professionally.

“Everywhere I went, even if I was just by myself, if people learned my name … they would say, ‘Oh, I just saw your husband.’ He was very well-known in the community,” she said.

She and the boys have received an outpouring of support from their family, their church and the community.

“We’re so thankful for that,” she said. “We have a big support system. We’re going to get through it, but it’s going to be really rough for a while.”

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