Vincent G. Kokich, Editor-in-Chief of the AJO-DO , died on July 24, 2013, at his home in Gig Harbor, Washington. His death was sudden and unexpected, and a great loss to his family, friends, and orthodontics.
Vince grew up in Tacoma, Washington, where he attended Lowell Elementary School, Mason Junior High School, and Stadium High School. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound and completed his dentistry and orthodontic degrees at the University of Washington. He taught as a professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Orthodontics and maintained a private orthodontic practice in Tacoma until his retirement in 2010.
The year he retired from private practice, he was named editor-in-chief of the AJO-DO . He had worked as Associate Editor of the Case Report section for the preceding decade, successfully challenging Case Report authors to improve their reporting. With his appointment he brought his boundless energy, organization, and creativity to the entire Journal. He oversaw a redesign of the journal that brought more color to each page. He introduced new features, including the quarterly “Point/Counterpoint” and the monthly “Ethics in Orthodontics” and “Statistics and Research Design” columns; he selected and promoted a “Case Report of the Month,” and he invited the authors of one article each month to record a video that is featured on the AJO-DO ‘s Web site. He helped create and maintain new social media sites for the journal (ajodoblog.blogspot.com and Facebook). He had a list of ideas a mile long.
During his career, Dr Kokich wrote 21 book chapters, 84 scientific articles, 48 review articles, and 32 editorials for the AJO-DO . He was recognized and admired around the world, having delivered more than 850 presentations nationally and internationally. He served as president of the American Board of Orthodontics and worked diligently to encourage excellence in clinical practice and specialty education through board certification. His CV is nearly 100 pages, but it only scratches the surface.
As a young boy, Vince learned to play the accordion and sing Croatian folk songs; as a young man, he fished commercially each summer. As an adult, he played golf and worked in the yard, sculpting and shaping the landscaping around his house. He drove a restored 1950s fire-engine-red pick-up truck. He bought a boat and went fishing and took his grandkids tubing. He formed lasting friendships, and it might be impossible to find someone who did not like him. He was preternaturally upbeat, as quick to take responsibility upon himself as he was to give credit to others. His friend and colleague Mike Riolo explained, “He didn’t work and play so that he would win; he worked and played so that we all would win.”
Through it all, he was a loving son, a caring husband, a proud father, and a devoted grandfather. He and his wife, Marilyn, were married for 44 years, and they filled their home with love, laughter, and tradition. He valued family dinners, vacations, and holidays—any excuse to draw his extended family together. He was an educator at heart, and whether sitting at a dinner table or standing at the front of a lecture hall, his message was the same: whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability.
He is survived by his mother, Helen; wife, Marilyn; son and practice partner Vincent and his wife Michelle; son Obie and his wife Lindsay; daughter Mary and her husband Alex; and daughter Marija and her partner Lance. He had 7 grandchildren, whom he adored: Maddy, Nick, Luke, Kate, Jackson, Mia, and Nicholas.