When Dr. J. Robert Eshleman entered dental school at MCV, he said he felt “very insecure among all these guys with degrees from large universities. I asked Rosalie (Hartman) if she would still marry me if I flunked out of dental school. She said, ‘Yes, but you won’t flunk out.’”
Eshleman worked so hard that he finished the year number one in his class. The summer of 1957 he and Rosalie, a graduate of the nursing school at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, married.
From his days as a fearful student, Eshleman rose to serve as chair of the restorative dentistry department from 1983 to 1992.
Today he is in his 50th year of teaching at MCV, where his advice and counsel is sought by clinical students who saw that he received the Lifetime Service Award there for “outstanding dedication and student support.” He has done research in bonded fixed bridgework, published articles in dental literature on a wide variety of subjects, given numerous continuing education courses and volunteered clinical time, including taking a dental mission trip to Guyana.
In 2006, he received MCV’s Dr. James H. Revere’s “Outstanding Service Award.” The next year, he was elected to MCV’s Medallion Society, “the highest honor the School of Dentistry bestows on its friends and alumni,” according to an MCV statement.
The Eshlemans are the parents of Curtis Eshleman of Lynchburg, Va., and Lee Eshleman, EMU class of 1986, who is deceased.
Published Aug. 2009.