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Peter G. Sotiropoulos, D.D.S., M.S.: 1924-2017


Dr. Sotiropoulos served as a professor and clinical instructor at Saint Louis University’s Center for Advanced Dental Education for more than 60 years.

“We lost a giant.”

Peter G. Sotiropoulos, D.D.S., M.S., a professor and instructor at Saint Louis University for more than 60 years died Friday, July 7, 2017. He was 92.

Peter G. Sotiropoulos, D.D.S, M.S.

Mick Hudson, D.M.D., an instructor at Saint Louis University’s Center for Advanced Dental Education (CADE), summed up the loss of Peter Sotiropoulos in four words.

“Dr. Pete,” as he was known to students and colleagues, was one of the first graduates of SLU’s orthodontic program. He began teaching at SLU after his graduation in 1948 and continued to educate CADE students until 2011.

“It’s remarkable if you think about it,” Hudson said. “The commitment and service that this man showed over the course of his career is incredible. He graduated and immediately began to give back to this school by educating other orthodontists.”

Dr. Pete, along with his brother, “Dr. Gus,” and his cousin Leo Mastorakos, spent their entire professional careers working at least one day a week at SLU. Dr. Gus passed away in 2015

“Everyone talks about the SLU family and Dr. Pete embodied it,” Hudson said. “Once you were here, you were his family. He was an inspirational person who led us all by example.”

Mark Azar, D.D.S., an instructor at CADE, called Dr. Pete kind and generous as both an instructor and later as a colleague.

“He was always honest but he never told students what to do,” he said. “He would guide you to find the answer yourself. He wanted you to make the discovery on your own.”

Dr. Pete graduated from Saint Louis University School of Dentistry in 1948 and received his M.S. in orthodontics from SLU in 1950. He served in the United States Air Force from 1951-1953, and was the first orthodontist to serve in the European theatre.

He became a member of the faculty of the St. Louis University School of Dentistry in 1948. He was promoted to professor in 1969, and served as acting chairman of the Department of Orthodontics in 1983-1984 and again in 1991-1992. Dr. Pete became the chairman of the Graduate Department of Orthodontics at SLU in 1992, a post he held until 1998. He was also the director of CADE from 1994-1998.

He was also in private practice with his brother, Gus, for 40 years. 

Rolf Behrents, D.D.S., Ph.D., director of the orthodontics program at CADE, said the response to Dr. Pete’s passing from CADE alumni has been universal.

“Over and over in the past few days I’ve heard about the quality of his teaching,” Behrents said. “He was a wonderful instructor.”

He is survived by his wife, Betty A. Sotiropoulos; and his children, Dr. George P. (Dr. Chris) Sotiropoulos of Louisville, Kentucky; Sue (Dr. Richard) Rames of St. Louis; Dr. Thomas D. (Jody) Sotiropoulos of O’Fallon, Illinois; and Tracy (Rainer) Zeck of Atlanta, Georgia; grandchildren and a great grandson.

He was preceded in death by his parents George Peter and Marie Cecilia Sotiropoulos; his brother, Dr. Gus Sotiropoulos; his sister, Bess Querry; and grandson Nicholas D. Sotiropoulos. To read a full obituary, click here.

Memorials may be made to the Orthodontic Education and Research Foundation (OERF) at Saint Louis University, 3320 Rutgers St., St. Louis, Mo. 63104.

Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Kassly Mortuary, Fairview Heights, Illinois. A Trisagion Service will be held at 7 p.m.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Swansea, Illinois, with Father Achilles Karathanos officiating. Interment will be at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, Illinois.