Brian J Lahiffe
Raised so far
Brian J Lahiffe was a periodontist, family man, golfer, woodworker and loyal friend who lived courageously with cancer until May 24, 2015. Quick with a laugh and a joke, his innate kindness stayed with him to the very end, when he was still cracking jokes, making every nurse feel welcome in his home, and comforting his family despite his advanced illness. Brian had a long-standing association with UBC Dentistry, teaching many undergraduate and post-graduate courses.
Born in Dublin at the end of the Second World War, Brian obtained his BDS from University College Dublin in 1967. He married Sheila in 1968 and had three children: Maria, Brian and Geraldine. After practicing in Ireland and the UK for six years, he took his young family to the Northwest Territories, then northern BC, before enrolling in the University of Michigan, where he specialized in Periodontics. Returning to BC, he set up clinical practice in New Westminster, where he stayed until his retirement in 2008. He earned fellowships to the Canadian, American and International Colleges of Dentists, and contributed extensively to the BC College of Dental Surgeons throughout his career.
Brian taught part time in the Faculty of Dentistry undergraduate program as a Clinical Instructor, even past retirement, but his most significant teaching contribution came in the Post-Graduate Periodontics Program in the 1990s. At the time, dental implants were considered revolutionary, and the sole purview of oral surgeons. Tim Gould, the head of the Periodontics program, realized that this surgical technique needed to be incorporated into the post-graduate periodontics curriculum.
When Dr. Gould encountered difficulty recruiting an oral surgeon to teach the post-grad periodontal students, Brian stepped up to the plate and put together a course, both clinical and didactic, that he taught on Wednesdays for many years. At that time, dental implants occupied a relatively small part of the curriculum, but for current students they play a very significant part. Nevertheless, it is certain that all ex-students of Brian’s are extremely grateful for having the opportunity to be taught a clinical skill by him that they still use to this day.
Brian was a keen golfer from the age of 14, when he learned the game at Portmarnock Golf Club in North Dublin. This passion stayed with him right to the end – less than 2 months before he passed, he nearly shot his age at his second home, Point Grey Golf Club. Following his retirement, he cultivated his talent for woodworking, making toys for his grandkids Liam and Evan, furniture, and turned bowls which were especial works of art.
The impact of your support
Brian was the fortunate recipient of several bursaries when he was in graduate school, which made all the difference in supporting him and his young family as he completed his specialist qualification.
In his memory, we invite you to make a donation to the Dr. Brian J Lahiffe Memorial Bursary in Dentistry at UBC. Your gift will honour Brian’s life and career, and will support UBC Dentistry students in financial need.