Dr. Richard Drummond SANDILANDS
Dr. Richard Sandilands passed away peacefully Thursday, June 15, 2023 surrounded by loved ones.
He was born July 16, 1943 in Minnedosa, Manitoba and practiced dentistry in Edmonton for several years. He is survived by his loving wife Marjorie, his daughter Kathryn, her husband David and children Mitchell and Garrett, and his son Bryan, his wife Gillian and their children Matt, Anna and Will, his older sister Lynne and her husband Don of Calgary, and his younger sister Barbara and her partner Ali of Ottawa.
A public celebration of life will be held at the Windermere Golf and Country club from 2-5pm July 16, 2023, in celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday.
To livestream the service please go to
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Memorial donations may be made to the TAVI Program c/o the Mazankowski Heart Institute.
Dr. Richard (Dick) D. Sandilands
July 16, 1943 to June 15, 2023
Dr Richard (Dick) Sandilands was born July 16, 1943 in Minnedosa, Manitoba to Olive Margaret (Peggy) and Adam Sandilands. He was the middle of their three children with an older sister Lynne and a younger sister Barbara. Adam was an electrical engineer who worked for Phillips Cable and Peggy was school teacher in rural Manitoba before her marriage to Adam. Once married, she became an
extraordinary homemaker. She was a gifted connector and extravert, and passed this on to her son. She always loved people and was an incredible cook. Her grandchildren looked forward to homemade cinnamon buns and Parkhouse rolls, cookies, oatcakes and jam every visit. Adm’s job took them to Winnipeg, Brockville, Regina and Edmonton.
Growing up the kids spent the summers with their grandparents in Minnedosa,
Manitoba. Dick had fond memories of his grandparents. His grandfather spent a lot of time with him and taught him to carve willow whistles. Dick went to Old Scona and new Scona High School in Edmonton, and decided to become a dentist. He did a year of Sciences at the University of Alberta before being
accepted into Dentistry. He always loved to tell the story that he barely passed Physics while trying to get into dentistry. He went into the exam and froze up and ended up doing an elaborate drawing of a tall ship in which he embedded all the formulas he could remember and managed to pass the course and get accepted to dentistry! He graduated from Dentistry in 1965.
At this time his wife to be, Marjorie, had moved to Edmonton from Calgary to study nursing. They met at a young people’s meeting soon after she arrived. They dated while they were both in university and on her graduation with her RN, he presented her with a shot gun! His mother followed her into the bathroom and said “we were expecting a ring! If I were you, I would point it at him! “. A ring did follow when she completed her BScN and they were married Sept 17, 1966. The joke is he always thinks it was the 18 so every year he tries to celebrate a day later!!!
His first associateship was with Dr. Millard Blackburn at 20 yrs of age (he had to wait until he turned 21 to be able to write prescriptions). He ended up in practice with Dr. Don Gilmour, and Dr. Bill Mitchell and created a group practice which was a relatively new way of practicing dentistry, at the time. Their office was in the Empire building, where he worked until the end of his career as a wet fingered dentist.
Marj and Dick’s first child was a Labrador retriever named Sam. He was infamous for getting into trouble. He climbed 6 ft fences and was a master at running away. He started Dick’s love of dog training and his friendship with Don Pollock. The family would cross the country several times in a trailer chasing dog trials. Sam was a national field trial champion, which is likely the only reason why Marj let him live. When Marj’s friend came back from Europe with thigh high leather boots, Sam ate one right to the heel in record time. She had suggested the friend not leave them in the back hall and but her friend thought they were fine. They remained lifelong friends despite the boot fiasco!
They bought their first house in 1967 because Dick bought Sam! Their daughter Kathryn was born October of 1969 (during hunting season) and their son
followed in January of 1972. Dick was active in the dental curling league and curled in many bonspiels. He loved the camaraderie in his profession and eventually decided to run for the president of the Alberta Dental Association and then later the President of the Canadian Dental Association. Through his tenure working in organized dentistry, he developed many lifelong friendships and made a huge impact on his profession.
One of his other great loves was fishing and after meeting Dr. Doug McKillop as a
student he began fishing with him at the west coast. Dick eventually bought his own boat and float cabin and spent weeks every summer chasing salmon. It was one of his favourite places on earth and he spent time there with family and friends. We all used to joke about “fish lag” which was what you got waking up before dawn and fishing until after dark.
His other passion was hunting ducks and geese. He actually went as far as to start his own decoy company at one point (you can never have too many decoys right?) Bryan as a teenager had the job of spraying the white cheek patches on the goose heads. He shared this passion with his grandson’s Mitchell (26) and Garrett (24) and many of his friends. His rule was it was okay to shoot things with eyes smaller than his, so he never took up big game hunting with his grandson’s and their dad.
Golf was his summer way of life and the Windermere his summer home. If one round of golf was good, two was better! He and Marj golfed every year until this year. He met many friends through this lifelong passion. After his accident, he had to switch from being a right-handed golfer to being a “lefty”. Most of could hardly fathom making this switch!!
Dick was a man who walked into a room of strangers and saw a room full of potential lifelong friends. We used to laugh as kids because he knew everyone everywhere we went. We would find ourselves often at strangers’ homes because he had struck up a new friendship! He had a great sense of humour and he was always fun to be around.
In 1987 he had a life altering event when he was in a car accident that ended his career as a wet fingered dentist. He was devastated to lose the career he loved. It left him with neck and shoulder injuries that never again allowed him to practice. Not one to give up, he worked hard to recreate his career in another area of dentistry and worked for a long time as a practice broker and practice management consultant with his long-time friend Bill Fotty, and then eventually created his own successful consulting practice MD Health Management. He loved his profession and worked to positively impact it right until his last day. He had a long legacy of stepping up to take leadership positions in his field. He had been a member of Rotary International since 1983. He belonged to many study clubs including the Edmonton and Calgary Gnathological study clubs, the Gold Foil Study Club of Washington Oregon, The American Society of Dentistry for Children and the American Society of Preventive Dentistry. He was President of the Edmonton and District Dental Society from 1976 -1979. He was Western Canada Dental Society President and president elect from 1980-1984 and again from 1984-1990. He became the Alberta Dental Association President from 1988-1989. In 1988-1992 he became the Alberta Governor for the Canadian Dental association and then Executive Council Member from 1992-1996 and finally President from 1998-1999. He thrived in dental politics and loved all the friendships he made there.
He also loved to contribute to Dental Education at the University. He was a guest
lecturer from 1974 on. He also became an associate Clinical Professor at the Faculty of Dentistry from 1991-1995 while his daughter was enrolled. In 1988 he and a group of associates formed The Canadian Health Advisory Consortium Inc and travelled to Ecuador looking at providing health care technology and human resource development in developing nations. The goal was to provide modular dental units to remote regions. He did this until 1996. In 1989 he founded MD Health Management Inc which provided professional consulting and Advisory services in the areas of Practice Management and Personal Development.
He had a very busy practice he enjoyed and was working right to the day before he
The last 7 months had been difficult for Dick health wise. He had a gastric bleed in
December, congestive heart failure due to a failing valve that had to be replace in
February at The Mazankowski Heart Institute. He had a TAVI procedure and ultimately needed a pacemaker. Three months after this surgery he developed septicaemia and a septic hip (in his hip replacement). They opened and flushed it twice in 24 hrs., removed the plastic liner and replaced it. He patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) made it through six weeks of IV antibiotics, administered by his loving wife. The day before he passed, they had pulled his pic line and put him on oral antibiotics and he was studying for his driver’s test because he was turning 80. My mom was gently quizzing him when he told her he felt fuzzy and suffered a massive catastrophic, hemorrhagic stroke. Dick was bravely struggling to recover, keeping his thoughts on one more hunting trip
with his grandson’s and friends and at least one more trip fishing out to the coast. Alas it wasn’t meant to be.
After 56 years of marriage, Marj was ever his advocate right to the end. Navigating a broken health care system and trying hard to stay positive in the process, she was his rock. Marj said in the last 7 months he never ended a day without saying “Thank you for all you have done for me today, sorry if I was ill humoured. I love you”.
He is survived by his wife Marjorie, and his beloved dog Siri, their children, Kathryn and her husband David, grandson’s Mitchell and Garrett; Bryan and his wife Gillian and their three children Matt, Anna and Will; his older sister Lynne Beamer and her husband Don, their children Jennifer and her husband Debito, Chrissy and Jodi and their children Kyla and Luke; and his younger sister Barbara and her partner Ali. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, John, sister-in-law, Lynn and children: Kirsty, Fiona and Rachel.
We were blessed to have him as a loving father and husband and we are grateful he didn’t suffer and had his family around him when he passed. May your heaven be full of wiley ducks, all your favourite black Labradors and more salmon than can be caught in a day at the cabin. You will be sadly missed and forever remembered.
Dr. Kathryn Sandilands
July 11, 2023