Esther M. (Wilkins) Wilkins, RDH, DMD

Born: Sat., Dec. 9, 1916
Died: Mon., Dec. 12, 2016

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Esther M. Wilkins, RDH, DMD

World renowned Dental Hygienist and Author

  Esther M. Wilkins Gallagher, RDH, DMD, 100, formerly of Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, died Monday, December 12th at Laurel Place of Fairview Healthcare in Hudson, New Hampshire. She was the beloved wife of the late James B. Gallagher, Jr., DMD. Esther was also the sister of the late Ruth Wilkins Colby. Dr. Wilkins is survived by a niece Elisabeth C. Tyrol of Pelham, NH; and many grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.
  Born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, December 9, 1916, the daughter of the late Ernest and the late Edith (Packard) Wilkins, she attended Tyngsboro schools and was a graduate of Lowell High School in the Class of 1934. Eager to further her education, she then went on to graduate from Simmons College in Boston with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1938. She then continued on to graduate from Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene in 1939 and then earn a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1949. In 1966 she earned a certificate in periodontology from Tufts as well.
She was a Dental Educator and Professor Emeritus at Tufts School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Wilkins was known to have dedicated her life to her work. She traveled extensively and internationally mentoring and lecturing. She wrote and had published “Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist” which was printed in 12 editions. It is known as the bible and roadmap to Dental Hygienists all over the world and was translated into six different languages.
In keeping in accordance with her wishes, there will be no calling hours and Committal Services will be held privately. A Memorial Service will be held in Boston at a later date. E-condolences/directions at Those wishing may make contributions in her memory to Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Dr. James B. Gallagher, Jr. Scholarship Fund and Dr. Esther M. Wilkins Scholarship Fund at or MCPHS Esther M. Wilkins Restricted Scholarship Fund to Lonny Townley at or Simmons College Esther M. Wilkins ’38 Endowed Scholarship Fund, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115 Arrangements by Funeral Director James F. O’Donnell, Jr. (603) 635-3333.  

Charitable donations may be made in Esther's memory to the following organizations:

MCPHS Esther M. Wilkins Restricted Scholarship Fund
to Lonny Townley at

Simmons College Esther M. Wilkins ’38 Endowed Scholarship Fund
300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115 or

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Dr. James B. Gallagher, Jr. Scholarship Fund and Dr. Esth

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Condolence Booklet

Pamela and Andy Bretschneider
   Posted Sat December 17, 2016
Sincere condolences to the family of Esther M. Wilkins. She will be sorely missed by the many people whose lives she impacted throughout her life.

Karen LeDonne
   Posted Wed December 21, 2016
May you rest in peace as we remember all the different ways you have touched our lives in and out of Oral Hygiene. You are an inspiration to all of us who practice everyday,that anything is possible!!!!Keep smiling and always move forward.

Joanne Johnson
   Posted Thu December 22, 2016
To the family of Esther Wilkins, my deepest sympathy to you. She was a joy and delight and a treasure. Such an inspirational woman. May she rest in peace.

Mary Leet Kellerman RDH Forsyth 66
   Posted Fri December 23, 2016
My whole family knew how important Dr Esther was to my dental hygiene profession and we send our sincere condolences to her family.

Kathryn Filias-Burroughs
   Posted Thu December 29, 2016
I was so saddened to see that Dr. Wilkins had passed. She was one special lady and did so much to further dental hygiene education in her lifetime. I was a student of hers at Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene, 1969-71; when I met her she recognized my maiden name...she had been the hygienist in our town's only dental practice, Dr. Willis, and remebered my father and his family. She was a legend in her own time. May her memory be eternal

Donna Burgess
   Posted Thu December 29, 2016
I was also a student of Dr. Wilkins from Middlesex Community College 1972-74.I also lived in Manchester Mass. where she was a dental hygienist for Dr. Willis. She taught us using her own book(that is still used in hygiene schools today). She was a sweet ,devoted lady who spent her life doing what she loved. We'll all remember her with a smile. My best to her family,so very sorry for your loss.

Gary Alex
   Posted Thu January 19, 2017

My condolences to the family. Dr. Wilkins was one of my instructors at Tufts '78-'81. She left an indelible impression on me and was a no nonsense instructor and teacher with an insistence on mastering technique and working toward perfection. She helped make me a better dentist than I would have otherwise been. I was lucky to have her as a teacher.

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