May 2024 IL Dental News

of constructive tasks and eventually Mike learned how to do various dental laboratory procedures. Michael’s proficiency and enthusiasm grew, and he dove headfirst into dentistry. His fervor and expertise continue to this day with the same laser-focus exhibited by his father those many years. Dr. Mike has expressed that there are third and fourth generations of grateful and loyal patients that continue to choose their office to receive dental care. Many of their superb staff have been with the office for notable periods of time. Dr. Michael likes to tell the story of how his father could often distract and calm an apprehensive child in the dental chair by asking the child to watch him wiggle his ears. More often than not, Dr. Sam could wiggle his ears while, at the same time, performing local anesthesia or completing a needed dental procedure. Another clever idea implemented in the office to distract anxious children, and some adults too, I imagine, was keeping their gentle and friendly dog, a cocker spaniel-poodle mix, in the office for patients to hold and pet during procedures. Dr. Sam has, through the years, served in a whole host of selfless projects and leadership roles. He has been chairman of many fund-raising events. Sam raised funds for Saint Mel High School through its Cadillac give-away raffles and dinners. The raffle tickets were $100.00 each, with only a given small number sold. The Cadillacs were secured for the raffle at a reduced rate, and the event would often garner $5,000.00 to help support the school. Sam and the committee, always willing to interject a bit of humor into the raffle equation, would bring the Cadillac to be raffled off to the parking facility for the event. Therefore, the winner would need to pay the parking fee for the vehicle before driving away in their new automobile. On one special occasion of this event, Sam was enthusiastically presented with the Saint Mel High School “Mel Man of the Year” Award. Dr. Sam served as chairman of the Saint Mary’s Chicagoland Capital Campaign, with a lofty goal $1.5 million, which was achieved. Sam served on that Board of Trustees for 10 years. As a charter member of the President’s Council from 1974 to 1994, he established the Cascio Family Court in honor of the La Salle Christian Brothers and their faithful mission of quality education at Saint Mary’s. He also served as co-chair for the $100 million campaign for the Dental Alumni Division of Loyola University.

Dr. Cascio received the Marshall H. Smulson, D.D.S., Humanitarian Award at the Ed Kelly 41st Annual Giant Awards Banquet in June of 2015, and the Founder’s Day Award from the Loyola University Dental Alumni Association in 1987. At the same time, Dr. Sam served as the Commencement Keynote Speaker for the Loyola School of Dentistry graduation ceremony of 1987, which included the graduation from dental school of his son, Dr. Michael A. Cascio. Dr. Sam was a member of the University of Illinois Eye Fund Board for 26 years, including 18 years as its vice- president. Being a dentist, he never ascended to being president of this group, despite his rather humorous allegation that “people do have ‘eye teeth’ and didn’t that qualify?” Dr. Sam’s other achievements and accolades in dentistry are so numerous that there is not room enough to list them all. However, additional service would include former presidencies of the ISDS, the Chicago AGD, the Illinois AGD, the Arcolian Dental Arts Society (an organization of Italian American dentists in the Chicagoland area, where he received the Arcolian Person of the Year Award in 1981), the CDS Progressive Club, CDS Northwest Branch and the Columbian Club of Chicago (as well as being a Lifetime Member of the Columbian Club of Chicago). Sam was a President’s Council member and U of I Foundation member. He established the Samuel J. Cascio D.D.S. Scholarship for Italian American students at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry, perpetuating today. Dr. Cascio has been awarded Fellowships in the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and the Academy of General Dentistry among others. He has received the ISDS Distinguished Dentist Award, the Loyola University Dental Alumni Founders Day Award to name just a couple other tributes. There are likely not many dental or community honors for which Dr. Sam has failed to be nominated or won in his many dutiful, committed years of service. To this day, during the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting, Dr. Sam regularly serves as a Presiding Chair for speakers who are presenting educational programs. Essentially, the Presiding Chair oversees the presentation room, introduces the speaker, makes sure everything necessary for the presentation goes smoothly and at the conclusion of


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