USC University of Southern California

Ostrow School of Dentistry Mourns John W. Beierle, 74

Dr. John W. Beierle, recently retired associate professor and supporter of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, passed away on Tuesday, October 18 at the age of 74.

Born on June 22, 1937 in New Jersey, Beierle moved to California when he was 14. Always a driven and passionate man, he worked all through high school and college at night to pay his own way. From these humble and modest beginnings, he became the first member of his family to receive a degree; he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from California State University at Los Angeles.

Beierle went on to earn his Ph.D. in Bacteriology from USC in 1968. He joined the Ostrow School of Dentistry later that year as a postdoctoral fellow under renowned researcher Lucien Bavetta. Beierle then became an Ostrow School of Dentistry faculty member in 1969, conducting research in microbiology, immunology, and biochemistry. He also spent several years with a dual appointment in the department of biological sciences within the USC Dornsife College and taught many courses in both schools.

He retired in January 2011 after more than 40 years of service and dedication to the Ostrow School of Dentistry, having published a multitude of articles and books which had a significant influence on the School’s reputation for excellence in basic sciences research.

In his life outside the university, he loved spending time in the great outdoors, fishing all over the Eastern Sierra as well as deep-sea fishing with his friends and family. He loved to cook, and was always willing to share his home, his food, and his knowledge with anyone and everyone. In his life, he had traveled to Mexico, England, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Ireland, Canada, China, and 48 of the 50 United States. He even had the opportunity to visit Berlin before the wall went up, during its oppressive existence, and again after the city was completely free. In addition to his extensive knowledge of microbiology and the sciences, he studied history with great interest. Those around him often thought him to be the most knowledgeable man they had ever met.

Dr. Beierle is survived by his wife, Deborah; his children Jon Beierle, Tara Martin, and Carl (Collie) Beierle; and his three grandchildren. A private memorial service is being held Saturday, October 22 at 3:00 PM at 1741 North Palm Avenue in Upland, CA.