Bruce G. Stratton

Apr 20, 2021
Bruce Stratton

Rockland — Dr. Bruce Gorrie Stratton, 89, lost his battle with kidney failure Feb. 9, 2021, and will be missed by all who knew this gentle dentist and long-term resident of Rockland.

Born Sept. 2, the day after his mother’s birthday, in 1931, he was first of four children to Dr. Rupert and Glena Gorrie Stratton, formerly of Beech Street.

Bruce abandoned his love of art and followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from dental school at Tuft’s University, Boston, Mass. with his Doctorate's of Medical Dentistry in 1955.

At that time, he entered the Army where he served as a Captain, spending most of his service in Reykjavik, Iceland.

He returned to Rockland and began to practice dentistry with his father on Main Street before setting up his own long-standing dental office above the broadcasting offices of WRKD. As he parked behind the main street and took a short-cut through the radio station’s parking lot door to his office, he was often corralled to be the voice of commercials, jingles and occasional fund-raising radio auctions.

Bruce enjoyed music of all types, but particularly barbershop. He had a rich baritone singing voice, and his house on Talbot Avenue was often the venue of barbershop rehearsals, parties and social gatherings throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. Sandra played piano or organ and the laughter from those nights touched many lives.

Dr. Stratton was known as the “painless dentist” in Rockland, a particular favorite with children and the squeamish, his manner was gentle and jocular, placing patients at ease for whatever dental work was necessary.

He was often accosted on the street, in restaurants with his family, in holiday locations, by satisfied patients who happily attributed their beaming smiles to Dr. Stratton’s finesse and gentle artistry. He was proud to be instrumental in the passing of laws allowing the fluoridation of drinking water that led to less tooth decay in Knox County.

On April 9, 1960, he married Sandra Hallowell Heal of Rockland and became the proud step-father of Sandra’s daughter, Andrea, and purchased the family residence on Talbot Avenue.

Bruce took great pride as second owner of the property, restoring and preserving the large Victorian house over the nearly-60 years he and Sandra resided there.

In June 1961, Sandra gave birth to Dori Jean Stratton. During Dori’s high school years, and through the acquisition of a cottage on Crawford Lake in Union in the late 60s, Bruce was known for his hospitality, willingness to drive the boat for anyone wanting to try their skill at water-skiing, and could be seen playing “the spoons” to the energetic guitar music and singing of Dori’s folk choir friends, during long summer evenings in the 70s.

Bruce was not known for his love of travel, but his two overseas trips made lasting impressions on him. In 1968, Sandra talked him into flying to London, where he was transformed by his visit to Carnaby Street and his exposure to the latest fashion, mini-skirts and go-go boots on young women. He spoke of that one experience with a wistful smile for years.

When Dori moved to teach in Australia in 1989, she declared the earth would move before she expected to see him in Sydney. Indeed, Bruce and Sandra touched down Dec. 26, 1989, at the precise moment of the devastating Newcastle earthquake, an event that made the front page of the local Courier-Gazette.

Fourteen hours on the leg of the journey from Los Angeles to Sydney ruined him for travel, however, and Bruce and Sandra subsequently limited their travel to several trips to the Bahamas and to visit friends in Florida or New Orleans.

Bruce enjoyed being a grandfather to Andrea’s sons Scott R. Norris and Christopher W. Norris, as well as their children. He was a proud and loving uncle to his brother, Pete’s (John R. Stratton) sons, Courtney and Andrew; sister Patricia Peterson’s boys, Christopher, Jason and Jonathon, and deceased sister Diddy’s (Jean Carol) children, Debbie Read Johnson and Greg Read.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years Sandra H. Stratton; daughter Dori and her husband Mark Oliver, of Katoomba, NSW Australia; step-daughter Andrea Norris and her partner Robert Lindsey of Mansfield, Mass.; sister Patricia Peterson of Conn.; brother John (Peter) Stratton, of Fla.; sister-in-law Cynthia Robinson and her husband, Edgar, of Rockland, as well as several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. To share a memory or story with Bruce’s family, visit their online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Apr 21, 2021 10:01

My thoughts to Dr Stratton's family. My dentist for many years and as he would say he did a lot of body and fender work on my teeth. Many memories of office visits and he was a gentle soul. My condolences to my classmate Andrea at this sad time.



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 21, 2021 08:01

My first job in High school was working at WRKD.  I have many fond remembrances of working with Dr. Stratton on various radio projects as well as him being my dentist in the youthful years.  A kind and gentle man, many who knew him will be sad to hear of his passing but will take joy in all the good memories.



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