Theodore S. Sobkov

Accomplished Howard County Dentist Retired Early In Order To Pursue A Passion For Films, Travel, Opera And History

December 05, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen , fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Theodore S. Sobkov, a retired periodonist who was a film fan and beer lover, died Nov. 26 of complications from dementia at Copper Ridge nursing home in Sykesville. The Tuscany-Canterbury resident was 72.

Dr. Sobkov, the son of grocers, was born in Baltimore and raised on East Monument Street and later in Forest Park.

After graduating from City College in 1954, he earned a bachelor's degree in European history in 1958 from the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 1962, he earned a degree from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and then served as an Air Force dentist until 1964.

While serving in the Air Force, he developed an interest in periodontics, and after completing his service, enrolled in a two-year graduate program in periodontics at the University of Kentucky.

In 1967, he established his practice in Baltimore and later expanded to Columbia. In 1970, he became board-certified in periodontics, and also taught periodontics at the University of Maryland, where he helped craft the dental hygiene program.

He had been president of the Howard County district of the Maryland State Dental Society and was a trustee for the Maryland State Dental Association for four years.

Dr. Sobkov was also a member of the President's Club of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and was elected to membership in the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists.

Despite his professional accomplishments, Dr. Sobkov was enthralled with the world of filmmaking.

"He always vowed to retire when he was 591/2 to pursue his varied interests and fulfilled that promise to himself," said his wife of 51 years, the former Joan Walen.

"I was also a European history major and first met him when I was standing in a registration line at College Park. He was working at registration and succeeded in getting me into a class that was closed," said Mrs. Sobkov, laughing.

"He was a movie lover from adolescence on, frequently cutting classes in college to see as many movies as possible," she said.

After retirement, Dr. Sobkov regularly traveled to New York to take film courses and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival.

"When his grandsons, Sam and Max, were born, he couldn't wait to take them to their first movies," Mrs. Sobkov said. "He always said if he had his life to live over, he'd be a film editor."

Dr. Sobkov also enjoyed travel and had toured extensively through Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He also became an accomplished home brewer and studied the beers of the countries he planned to visit.

He also fell under the spell of opera later in life and enjoyed attending performances of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York and the now-defunct Baltimore Opera Co.

He also became an avid student of biblical and Jewish history.

"He commented that these studies made up for playing hooky instead of faithfully attending pre-bar mitzvah training," Mrs. Sobkov said, laughing.

He was a member of Oheb Shalom Congregation and had served on the synagogue's board. He also had been on the organizing board of the Shoshana Cardin High School.

Services were held Monday.

Also surviving are his son, Howard Sobkov of Baltimore; a daughter, Elizabeth Rabaskas of Wilton, Conn.; a sister, Ruth Macklin of New York City; and two grandsons.

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