Lawrence Eugene Schaller
Lawrence Eugene "Chaunce" Schaller, D.D.S., passed away at home July 25th, 2012, 17 days short of his 85th birthday. He was born August 11, 1927, in Rochelle, Ill., to Dr. Clarence and Tollieve "Tolly" Schaller.
He attended Rochelle Township High School, where he set a state high school football record for kicking extra points. His skill and the record earned him the nickname "The Toe." However, that nickname didn't stick as long as the one he was given by his older brother and two friends in fourth grade, which was "Chaunce."
Following high school, he entered the U.S. Navy and served as seaman first class on a destroyer named the U.S.S. Buckley. He was honorably discharged at the conclusion of World War II and remained active in the Naval Reserves until 1954.
He attended Colorado A&M University for a year and a half, then transferred to the University of Arizona in 1948. He joined the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta "FIJI," where he made lifelong friends.
After graduating from the University of Arizona in 1950, he was accepted into the University of Illinois Dental School. Prior to starting dental school, however, he was invited to try out for the Chicago Cardinals professional football team as a kicker. After attending tryouts, the NFL made a rule that only allowed a certain number of players on a team. This eliminated the position of someone only being a kicker. Not being big enough to play a position other than a kicker, he started dental school.
He graduated in 1954 with his dental degree and headed to Phoenix, where he was told to look up a dentist who was the friend of a friend in his hometown of Rochelle. That dentist had just broken his arm, so he asked Chaunce if he would help with his practice while his arm healed.
This was the beginning of Chaunce's dental career in Phoenix. He opened his own practice a short time later and practiced dentistry in central Phoenix for more than 45 years. He was a sole practitioner but practiced alongside several great colleagues including Dr. Fred Jones, Dr. Cliff Running and Dr. Tom Firth. He was the 'Painless Dentist' to many Phoenicians, and he fully retired from dentistry in 2001.
In 1955, he married Jean Weiss, whom he met through her brother, Jack, a classmate in dental school and moved to Scottsdale in 1960. He volunteered his dental services at the Mercy Dental Clinic, a division of St. Joseph's Hospital and Catholic Health Services for over 40 years. In 2006, he was one of three finalists in the dental division for the Health Care Hero Awards.
He was a member of Phoenix Country Club for more than 50 years where he enjoyed the camaraderie of playing tennis and golf with many wonderful friends.
In addition to using the gift of his hands in dentistry, Chaunce enjoyed using his hands to make jewelry, creating wonderful pieces of silver and turquoise jewelry. He also enjoyed making models and created a scale model of the destroyer he served on, which he made not from a kit, but from scratch, using only photos and his memory as a guide.
Chaunce also enjoyed the outdoors, camping, fishing and hiking. He loved spending summers in Sioux Narrrows, Ontario, Canada, in the cabin he built with his brother and father. He was known for his keen, dry sense of humor.
Dr. Schaller is survived by his wife of 57 years Jean; and two sons of Scottsdale, John Schaller, M.D. (Joli) and Jim Schaller, and three granddaughters, Jordan, Jaime and Tolly.