Dennis Kalebjian Obituary (1954 – 2022) – Fresno, CA – Fresno Bee – | Start Classified

Dennis M. Kalebjian, DDS
March 1, 1954 – July 23, 2022
Fresno, California – Dennis Michael Kalebjian, DDS, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, July 23, 2022 after a brief and aggressive battle with pancreatic cancer. Dennis was 68 years old.
Dennis has lived his life in Fresno, CA. He was born on March 1, 1954 to John and Esther Kalebjian in the Oleander neighborhood of Fresno and graduated from Washington Union High School in 1972 with a degree in salutation. Dennis attended California State University at Fresno and the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1978 he received his DDS degree from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco. Dennis returned to his Fresno roots to complete his general practitioner training program at Valley Medical Center.
It was around this time that Dennis met Paulette. After a short courtship, they married in 1979. They had a truly wonderful partnership for 43 years. They complemented each other at every stage of their marriage, first building their home in Sunnyside where they raised three children, Bridgit, Bradley and Jamie, and later working together after Paulette became a dental hygienist. Family life was busy with the children’s extracurricular activities. Roger Rocka’s performances, piano lessons and marching band competitions filled evenings and weekends. Business trips have also become family trips. Together, Dennis and Paulette found the time for all of this.
As a newlywed, Dennis opened his private dental practice. Over the next 43 years he maintained family-like relationships with patients and staff, acting as a mentor and staying at the cutting edge of dentistry. During this time he also served as an instructor in the community hospital’s GP residency program, where he participated in teaching dentists, treating medically complex patients in the operating room, and lecturing on advances in dental technology. Dennis had a charitable instinct for his community and his generosity reached underserved communities. One of the highlights of his dental career was the opportunity to mentor and practice alongside his daughter Bridgit and her husband Roger who are proud to continue his legacy of family practice.
Dennis also had significant achievements in organized dentistry. He was a member of the Fresno-Madera Dental Society and eventually served as President. He also served as a delegate and committee member for the American Dental Association’s legislative body, the House of Delegates. He was also a board member of the ADA and an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Most notably, he was elected President of the California Dental Association in 2003 and has served as President. Dennis has been involved with many other societies including the American College of Dentists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the Dugoni School Alumni Association.
Dennis’ early years were shaped by his parents and his community. His father John instilled in him a strong work ethic and he spent many hours driving the tractor and tending the vineyards. Dennis moved back to the farm after his father’s death with the aim of improving the land and continuing the farming legacy – a venture his grandfather started in 1934. This served a dual purpose as Dennis was able to spend more time with his mother Esther who continued to live on the farm and work with his son Bradley who carries on the family tradition.
His love of music was inherited from his mother, who arranged for Dennis and his sister Bonnie to take piano lessons. Dennis was part of the Washington Union Band and continued to play and enjoy music throughout his life. He is fondly remembered as a young boy with a ukulele in his hands and later as a father and grandfather, playing classical and contemporary arrangements on the piano and filling the house with his music. His musical talent was passed on to his children, and it brought him joy to see each of them continue their own musical endeavours: Bridgit on vocals, Bradley on drums and Jamie on piano. Dennis was a dedicated father who loved seeing his children thrive. Many evenings were spent helping his children rehearse for upcoming auditions and playing the piano while they sang.
Through the example of his parents, Dennis had a deep connection to the Armenian Church that lasted throughout his life. He was a conscientious member of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in Fowler, where he attended Bible studies and served on the ward council and men’s forum. Dennis’ faith has always been a guide along the path of his achievements.
Dennis felt fulfillment in everyday life. He loved spending the weekends with his family, including his seven grandchildren, barbecuing, tending to his backyard garden, playing tennis, swimming laps and taking trips to the coast. Dennis was a hardworking man with a kind heart who valued family above all else. To that extent he was satisfied with his life and his achievements. He loved his life and he was loved.
Dennis is survived by his 43-year-old wife Paulette; daughter Bridgit Khater and her husband Roger; son Bradley Kalebjian and his wife Rose; daughter Jamie Arikian and her husband Avo; and seven grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church, PO Box 246 Fowler, CA, 93625 or to the CDA Foundation on behalf of Dennis Kalebjian to continue their efforts to improve the oral health of Californians. Donations can be made online at by clicking Donate, or checks can be mailed to the CDA Foundation, located at 1201 K Street, 14th Floor, Sacramento, CA, 95814.

Posted by Fresno Bee on August 3, 2022.

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