Most dentists spend their careers fixing smiles, but Dr. Henry Lucas, named one of America’s 10 top dentists in 2004, spent most of his life creating smiles.
The confidante of Presidents and movie stars passed Sunday, May 31 at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco.
But for teens like a young Rick Moss then at San Francisco’s Balboa High School, Lucas was the bridge to their own careers.
“While in high school in the 70’s, I was contacted by a group called PACT (Plan of Action for Challenging Times),” recalls Moss, now chief curator of the African-American Library and Museum in Oakland and a member of the State Historic Resources Commission. “At the time it was located on Divisadero near McAllister Streets. They were heavily involved in recruiting college eligible African Americans students, and guiding them through the entire application process. I owe that organization for much of where my life and career has taken me. “
Lucas began PACT with Everett Brandon and Louis Barnett in 1963, only three years after getting his dental degree. The organization has helped as many as 3,000 youth per year get into college since. It has been the most successful grassroots college advancement program in the country.
Dr. Henry Lucas was born on February 27, 1932 in Rahway, New Jersey. Following his graduation from high school, Lucas attended Howard University and received his B. S. degree in 1957. He completed his studies in dentistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1960 and his postgraduate studies in orthodontics at the University of the Pacific in 1972.