Dr. William Zev Abrams, 93, who served as Albert Einstein's dentist for almost a decade, and later fought to improve dental services for New Jersey's poor as a state health official, died April 19 of natural causes at his home in Haverford Township.
Abrams took care of Einstein's teeth from shortly after the end of World War II until the physicist's death in 1955. The two bonded over their common membership in Princeton's small, tight-knit Jewish community.
Abrams later left his practice and served almost 20 years as New Jersey's director of dental public health. He focused on improving dental care for migrant workers and their families in South Jersey.
Born in Trenton, Abrams graduated from Temple University with both his bachelor's and dental degrees. He then moved to Princeton, where he established a private dental practice.
Abrams joined the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant in the medical corps in 1942. He served in the South Pacific during World War II, and was on Okinawa.
Upon completion of his service, he returned to his private practice, which thrived throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
Abrams decided to leave in 1963 to pursue a career in public health. He earned a master's degree in public health from Columbia University in 1964, and then went to work as New Jersey's assistant director of dental public health. He was promoted to director a year later.
Abrams retired in 1983. He moved to Wynnewood in 1993 and then to Haverford in 1999.
In Philadelphia, Abrams continued the community-service work he had performed earlier in his life. He maintained contact with Children's Home Society of New Jersey, where he was a board member.
He also volunteered at the Inglis House wheelchair community in Philadelphia, tending to the home's greenhouse and visiting with residents. He received a "Volunteer of the Year" award from the Inglis House, and the Quadrangle, for his work with residents in the community's assisted-living wing.
Abrams is survived by daughters Elizabeth Abrams-Morley, Deborah Abrams Dasara, Pamela Abrams-Warnick and Benay Dara-Abrams; brother Dr. Henry Abrams; and five grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife of 55 years, the former Esther Rose Cramer, as well as by a grandson, Jeremy Warnick.
Memorial donations can be made to: the Inglis Foundation, 2600 Belmont Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19131; the Children's Home Society of New Jersey, 635 S. Clinton Ave., Trenton, N.J. 08611; or the Children's Defense Fund, 25 E St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.