Dr. Gabi Kesler – A Man of Integrity and Love

Dr. Gabi KeslerDr. Gabi Kesler passed on July 9, 2021, at his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, surrounded by his family.

Gabi Kesler, DMD, was installed as the 24th Academy of Laser Dentistry President (2016-2017) in Orlando, Florida, April 16, 2016. There have been many ALD leaders with steadfast dedication and energy for the Academy of Laser Dentistry, yet Gabi’s uniqueness was more evident than many leaders.  He loved the Academy and what ALD stands for. Gabi was soft spoken, of exceptional intelligence, and had a quiet way of leading. Gabi traveled from Tel Aviv to the US 3 or 4 times a year for ALD leadership meetings, spent hours on an airplane and away from his family for years and years, at his own expense.  His steadfast dedication to dentistry and to the ALD is remarkable, almost as remarkable as his dedication to his family, of which he spoke often. 


ALD Board Meeting


Dr. Kesler served the Academy of Laser Dentistry members for more than 15 years in different leadership roles, first as International Relations Chairman for over 4 years, then as an ALD Board Member for 2 terms (2005-2008; 2008-2011). In 2004, he was recognized for clinical excellence with ALD’s highest clinical honor, the Dr. Leon Goldman Award for Clinical Excellence. In 2005, Dr. Kesler established the 1st Israeli Society of Laser Dentistry and hosted the first laser meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel. After 6 years of Board service, in 2012, he was elected to his first officer role as ALD Secretary of the Board.  Each year for the next 5 years, he would continue to serve as Treasurer, then Vice President, President-Elect, and ultimately as ALD’s 24th President in 2016.  As an officer, Dr. Kesler was chairman of ALD’s 23rd Annual Conference held in Orlando in April 2016, chairman of the Nominating Committee and the Awards Committee. He held Advanced Proficiency in CO2 and Er:YAG laser wavelengths, was an ALD Recognized Course Provider, and acclaimed ALD Educator and well published author.


Dr. Kesler was a lecturer in the Department of Oral Rehabilitation at the Tel Aviv University School of Dental Medicine and the coordinator of the graduate and postgraduate dental laser program. He gave lectures to dental students on lasers in dentistry at Hadassah Hospital.


Dr. Kesler held a private general dental practice in Tel Aviv, Israel, since 1982.  His daughter Dr. Dana Kesler practiced with Gabi for 12 years and continues today.  Gabi married Anat Kesler in 1976 and has 3 children and 6 grandchildren, all most important to him.  He would travel to the US with an extra suitcase just to fill it up with Carter’s children’s clothes to take back to Israel.  Apparently, Carter’s apparel is extremely costly in Israel and very popular.  Gabi would return home from every ALD trip with Carter’s for everyone!


I know Dr. Kesler as a man dedicated to his profession and to his family. He will be missed but his legacy will live on in our stories. Personally, Gabi’s wisdom has guided me throughout my career with ALD.  He was my trusted friend.  My life and the ALD is better because of him.  May his memory be a blessing for his family and all of us.


ALD Board



I reached out to our ALD community and asked what Gabi meant to us and received several replies worthy of sharing to honor Gabi’s memory. 


Thoughts about Gabi from his ALD Colleagues

Dr. Glenda Payas, Oklahoma

I was so saddened to hear of the passing from this life of Gabi Kesler in July of 2021. I did not know that Gabi was ill and would have reached out to him and his family had I known. Gabi was a dear friend who I valued and appreciated as a colleague and fellow dentist. I had known Gabi for many years.  I respected him for his clinical skill and his commitment to the Academy of Laser Dentistry. When we visited Israel, Gabi was so kind to join us for dinner. He was such a soft-spoken man with a gentle spirit, but a mighty man of integrity.    listened to him because I valued his opinions and wisdom. His life made a difference to so many and his memory will remain with me during the remainder of my lifetime. I know that this world was a better place because of his contributions to it. My deepest sincere thoughts and prayers to his family for comfort and peace as you morn his loss. Thank you for sharing him with those of us in the dental community who were blessed by his presence.

~ Glenda Payas, DMD, Past President, Academy of Laser Dentistry


Dr. Ed Kusek, South Dakota

I remember how proud he was of his daughter and how smart she was. He would ask about my youngest son who was in dental school. Gabi always stressed the importance of family.

~ Ed Kusek, DDS, Past President, Academy of Laser Dentistry


Dr. Charles Hoopingarner, Houston, Texas

Gabi was a very loyal friend and was very appreciative of those around him.

~ Chuck Hoopingarner, DDS, Past President, Academy of Laser Dentistry


Dr. Tony Hewlett, Seattle Washington

Gabi was a wise and gentle man, soft spoken and hard to understand sometimes, but well worth listening to. When I listened carefully and understood what he had to say I was always impressed with what Gabi had to tell me.

~Tony Hewlett, DDS, Past President, Academy of Laser Dentistry


Dr. Mel Burchman, Pennsylvania

As we get older, we lose more friends and family members every year and Gabi was a dear friend of mine. Our friendship really blossomed the 3 times I visited Israel and twice when I presented in Israel. During one of these conferences, we had about 12 people from the ALD present including Gail Siminovsky, Steven Parker and Don Coluzzi. That is the trip where we took the picture of Gail on the camel. Gabi took us all over and was so proud of Israel.


He loved his family and I used to get a kick out of the way he spoke about his son Matan, a young accountant. Gabi’s wife wanted Matan to get married and settle down, but he was a good-looking young man and was truly enjoying his life and especially dating. We used to joke about this all the time and I used to tease Gabi that we were living vicariously through his son. We would laugh and say we would be doing the same things if we were his age. [Note: Matan has recently married and is expecting his first child!]


Like many of us Gabi suffered with tremendous back pain and came to one of the ALD conferences just after a back surgery. He could barely walk and was in tremendous pain. I don't think he was ever out of pain. So now he sits with God and I hope that he looks down and smiles when he sees his best work, his family. Rest in peace my friend. 

~ Mel Burchman DDS, Past President, Academy of Laser Dentistry


Dr. Walid Altayeb, Qatar

What a great loss! Gabi was one of my examiners for Advanced Proficiency in 2014. Despite the political dispute between two colleagues coming from one land and two conflicting political entities, this did not prevent Gabi from nominating me for the ALD Board and advising me during my laser research. I remember our shared trip to Orlando‘s airport after ALD 2015 and the honest conversation about the absurd conflict in the Middle East between the cousins and our need for peace. My deepest condolences to his family.  Rest in Peace Gabi,

~ Dr. Walid Altayeb, DDS, MScD, PhD, Secretary of Academy of Laser Dentistry, 2021-2022


Dr. Arun Darbar, United Kingdom

Gabi was a great human being, kind and soft-spoken. I shared very special times with him and his wise words were always welcome, as we did work on the International side as a team. He was always a family man first and I am proud to have been involved with him.  He shall be missed by us all.

~ Arun Darbar, BDS, ALD President 2021-2022


Dr. Don Patthoff, West Virginia

When I think of Gabi, I think of the smiles, laughter, and thoughtful struggles of a small group of people forging the shape and future of laser uses in dentistry. Their visions were broad and hopeful without much guidance other than their common passion. I don’t think Gabi or his colleagues in the ALD -- Terry Myers, Don Coluzzi, Alan Goldstein, Steven Parker, Peter Rechmann, David Roshkind, Art Levy, Stu Coleton, Dennis Pietrini, John Sulewski, and several others – really knew the depth and significance of the challenges they accepted and built upon.


Gabi was, probably, one of the most faith-filled and deliberative professionals of an already impressive group of pioneers. His depth of knowledge about light’s biomechanisms in nature and health and his understandings of the complex research methods needed to move the field forward were prophetic.


It was a privilege to have met and worked with him and, most importantly, to experience his wisdom and humor when he invited people to share his family at the many ALD conference poolsides.

~ Don Patthoff, DDS, ALD Board Member, Ethics Chair and Advisor


Dr. Mitch Lomke, Maryland
I feel shocked and sad at the loss of our dear friend and colleague. Gabi was one of the kindest and most caring people I knew. I got to know him very well serving as scientific sessions chair under his leadership when he was installed as our president at our 2016 Conference in Orlando. Yes, he was often difficult to understand, but I accepted that as part of his charm. Soft- spoken. Always a good sense of humor. I recall all those years, serving as an examiner beside him at our conferences. He was fiercely loyal to our Academy and fought hard to move forward despite obstacles including traveling such a long distance to share time with us and suffering horrific pain after back surgery. His steadfast dedication to dental laser education continues to serve as an ongoing inspiration. May his memory be a blessing to his family and all of us.

~Mitchell A. Lomke, DDS


Mr. John Sulewski. Michigan

Dr. Kesler will be fondly remembered as a kind and gentle soul. His soft-spoken demeanor belied his strong passion for laser dentistry, and his deep love and thoughtful support of his colleagues were clearly evident throughout his many years of steadfast service to the Academy. ~John Sulewski, Member, Academy of Laser Dentistry


Skylar Siminovsky, Florida
Thanks to my mom’s work with the Academy, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kesler over the years as we shared a love for Israel.  Dr. Kesler was quiet and brilliant.  On my travels to Israel, he would always find time to meet me, regardless of how busy he was.  We had dinners in Tel Aviv where his son, Matan, would join us or he would invite me to his beautiful apartment in Tel Aviv for a Kesler Family Shabbat Dinner.  Over the years, Matan and I have become friends, a tribute to Dr. Kesler.


When my mom told me of Dr. Kesler’s passing, I was shocked and saddened.  He was a distinguished man, a scholar, a friend, and most importantly a loving husband, father and grandfather. He cared about his family deeply and it was easy to see his quiet pride.

Dr. Kesler suffered with back pain throughout the years, but he never let it affect his personality.  For those of us lucky enough to cross Dr. Kesler’s path, he made us all better.  May his memory be a blessing as he is deeply missed.

~ Skylar Siminovsky, Director of Operations, Hilton Cabana Miami Beach

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