USC University of Southern California

Ostrow School of Dentistry Mourns Dr. Gerald Vale, 87

Former Interim Dean Gerald Vale MDS '54
Gerald L. Vale MDS ’54

Gerald Lee Vale, a forensic dentistry expert as well as an alumnus and retired faculty member of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, passed away July 19, 2013 at the age of 87.

Born July 14, 1926, Vale obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from New York University in 1948. Following a four-year tenure as a dental officer for the U.S. Public Health Service, he received a Master of Dental Surgery degree in orthodontics from the Ostrow School of Dentistry in 1954. He also received a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University in 1967 and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1971.

Vale spent 18 years in private orthodontics practice in Hollywood and returned to Ostrow in 1969 as a clinical associate professor. A part-time faculty member for more than 30 years, he held several leadership positions at the school, serving as associate dean of hospital affairs and as interim dean from 1999-2000 following the departure of Dean Howard Landesman.

In 1970, Vale was appointed dental director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services, and in 1979 he became director of dentistry at the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center. He also founded LAC+USC’s general practice residency program.

Vale served as the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s chief forensic dental consultant and testified in hundreds of criminal and civil trials as an expert forensic dentist. He was a founding member and diplomate emeritus of the American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO). In addition, he was vice president of the California Board of Dental Examiners, president of the ABFO, and held a number of leadership positions within the ABFO. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and he received the organization’s Distinguished Fellow Award in 2004.

A supporter of the Ostrow School of Dentistry, he was a member of the Friends of Dentistry, the Century Club, the USC Dental Alumni Association, and the USC Alumni Club of San Diego.

Vale was preceded in death by his son, Scott D. Vale. He is survived by his wife, Sydelle L. Vale; his son, Donald A. (Sydney) Vale; and grandchildren Alina M. Vale and Bryce C. Vale.