Levine Chapels

470 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA


Dr. Leonard Burton Shulman

Leonard Burton Shulman, age 86, passed away on May 16, 2020 from advanced Parkinson’s Disease. Born in 1934 in Boston to loving parents Mildred and Joseph “Ted” Shulman, he was a compassionate and gentle man who adored being with family and friends and was quick to laugh. He was a music man at heart, a poet, loved the stage, and worked his way through school playing piano at notable venues. A passionate lover of the arts and fine dining, he regularly attended symphony, art museums and theatre and was a life-long learner and intellectual. He loved golf, tennis, the beaches of Truro and all the Boston professional sports teams.

Len was the cherished husband of Joan (Sorkin) for nearly 40 years; beloved father of Adam and Jonathan; dearly loved stepfather of Jeffrey, Daniel and Thomas Dretler. Proud grandfather of Max and Rose Shulman-Litwin; Gabriel Shulman; Katie, Halle, Jack, Ryan, Sydni, Jessi, Jacob and Benjamin Dretler. Loving father-in-law to Mark Litwin; Asia Shulman; Janie, Astrid and Corrie Dretler. Adored big brother of the late Glenda Shulman.

The family is sincerely grateful to Gabriel Kiddu who enriched his daily life in recent years.

Leonard graduated from Boston Latin School and Harvard College cum laude, earned his Medical Doctorate in Dentistry (DMD) from Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was inducted into the national dental honor society, and was the proud composer and conductor of two dental school shows. After oral surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital he moved to Georgetown University to complete a Masters in Oral Surgery. He joined the faculty of Harvard School of Dental Medicine, serving almost 40 years as an academic triple threat: innovative researcher, respected teacher, and master clinician. He served on medical staffs at more than a dozen hospitals and was Chief of Oral Surgery at several. An accomplished scientist focused on human dental allograft, his work in dental implants was foundational. Awarded a prestigious NIH R-01 grant to study immunology of dental implants in his first year on faculty at Harvard, he was continuously NIH-funded for over 30 years. A prolific scholar, he published more than 80 scientific manuscripts, book chapters, reviews, and abstracts. He founded the Harvard Tooth Implant and Transplant Research Unit, was peer reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and served leadership roles in the major dental societies. His work was featured in Time Magazine and other popular press. He lectured throughout the world as visiting professor and keynote speaker. Dr. Shulman was the paragon of a translational scientist and will always be associated with the evidence-based establishment of dental implants in oral surgery practice, helping millions worldwide.

Graveside services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Len's memory may be made to Jewish Family & Children’s Service https://www.jfcsboston.org/Give/Donate-Online with Parkinson’s in the designation (tel 781-647-5327) or to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Office of Development, 330 Brookline Ave (OV), Boston, MA 02215 designate Parkinson’s Disease Wellness Works, https://www.bidmc.org/giving


  • Graveside services will be private


Dr. Leonard Burton Shulman

have a memory or condolence to add?

Steven Lazar

May 19, 2020

Please accept my most sincere condolences on the passing of a uniquely special individual. Len Shulman was instrumental in the development of my professional career, as a mentor and trusted colleague, who facilitated my joining the Waltham, Massachusetts dental community in 1974. Our professional relationship was invaluable over the years, and Len's expertise and advice was a significant benefit both to myself and to the many patients we treated.

However, it is as a personal friend to my late, former wife Joanne and me that I am most grateful. From her days as Len's research and technical assistant at the Harvard Dental Transplant and Implant Study, Len and Joanne had a very special bond that served them well, and helped carry them through many of life's challenges. Len's kindness even extended to arranging for his wonderful Dad, Ted Shulman, to offer his professional services as the photographer at our wedding in 1972. Later, when Joan entered our lives, we knew that Len had received everything good that he deserved.

To Joan, Adam, Jonathan, and the entire Shulman/Dretler families, please know that Len's wisdom, compassion, intellect, wit, grace, and kindness will never be forgotten.

Marjorie Miller

May 18, 2020

A gracious and good friend, Lenny was always kind to me. When my daughter, Cathy, had a tooth knocked out in a roller-skating accident, it was Lenny I called--and he calmly helped, long distance. His dad, Ted Shulman, took my engagement photos when I was at their house for Rosh Hashonah while a junior in college. He will be missed.


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