Lionel Gold, 97, formerly of Philadelphia, an award-winning oral surgeon, mentor to many, and former chairman of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, died Tuesday, Dec. 21, of heart disease at Lions Gate retirement community in Voorhees.

Raised in Paterson, N.J., Dr. Gold earned a fellowship in oral pathology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1949, and besides two years as a captain in the Army Dental Corps from 1952 to 1954, he never left the Philadelphia and South Jersey area. His 65-year practicing and teaching career included staff appointments at Hahnemann, American Oncologic, Graduate, Rancocas Valley, Cherry Hill, Garden State, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

He was an associate professor of pathology and surgery at Penn; Hahnemann, and Jefferson Medical Colleges; and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. He also served as a consultant to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, director of biopsy service at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, and director of oral surgery research at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Dr. Gold, who never officially retired, was the oral surgery department chairman at Jefferson from 1980 to 1998 and helped create its Institute of Graduate Dental Biosciences just a few years ago.

“He was such a wonderful hands-on father,” said Dr. Gold’s daughter Kathy. “But he was also so dedicated to his patients. I remember piling [with her two sisters] into the station wagon on Saturday mornings with him. He would say, ‘I need to make my rounds, but it will take just 10 minutes.’ Two hours later, we’d be walking the halls of the hospital looking for him.”

A member of several boards and the former president of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Gold won the 1957 Teacher of the Year Award from Penn’s Graduate School of Medicine, and the 2000 Presidential Achievement Award from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

He wrote, edited, and served on the editorial board for several medical publications, lectured extensively, and was a volunteer surgeon in 1995 for Operation Smile, which corrected facial differences for Philadelphia-area children in need.

“A wise and intelligent educator with common sense,” a friend and colleague wrote of Dr. Gold in an online tribute. “Always he was seeking the truth, and he had compassion for others. Disciplined and a great educator.”

Born Oct. 7, 1924, Dr. Gold earned his bachelor’s degree from New York University in 1944 and graduated from the NYU dental school in 1948. He was an oral surgery intern at Lincoln Hospital in New York, served his fellowship and attended graduate school at Penn, and was a resident at American Oncologic Hospital.

Dr. Gold married Helene DuBrow in 1949, and they had daughters Nancy, Kathy, and Patti. His wife died in 2020.

After military stops in Texas and Georgia, the family settled in Philadelphia. They moved to Haddon Township and then Cherry Hill in the late 1950s and returned to Philadelphia about 10 years ago. He moved to Voorhees three years ago.

Dr. Gold was also an artist who sketched, painted, and sculpted. He worked in charcoal and pastels and liked to create large-scale works. He even used material designed for dental molds for at least one of his sculptures.

He and his family traveled extensively, and he spent much time in museums around the world. He had a dry sense of humor, liked to read about history and talk politics, and he contributed quietly to aid organizations for veterans, cancer research, and other causes.

“We were aware we were not in a regular family,” his daughter Kathy said. “But we did everything as a family. He was ahead of his time in that he had no expectations of failure. He always told us we could do and be whatever we wanted.”

A colleague said Dr. Gold ”was a mentor, teacher and friend to thousands of people.” Another called him a “model for professionalism, humility and respect for all.”

In addition to his children, Dr. Gold is survived by five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, a brother, and other relatives.

Services were Dec. 23.

Donations in his name can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, Ill. 60601.