Dr Joel M Prives, DMD, age 85, of Wellesley MA, passed away on April 30, 2020.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Dr. Joel M. Prives DMD, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Born on April 17, 1935, Joel was the oldest son of the late Dr. Simon and Rose (Sandler) Prives. He is survived by his brother, Arnold Prives and predeceased by his brother, Melvin Prives. Born and raised in Roxbury and Newton, MA, Joel graduated Boston Latin School, attended Tufts University, and graduated in 1959
from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Upon completion of his education, Joel served in the US Army for 3 1/2 years, where he held the rank of Captain and was the chief Dental Surgeon for the 15th Cavalry Tank Battalion of the 4th Armoured Division stationed in Germany.
Joel’s greatest achievements were his three children; Barton Prives of Wellesley, Leslie Sullivan of Falmouth, and Hillary Rioux of Bellingham. As a single father, he was devoted to raising and instilling in his children a love of life long learning, music, and a sense of responsibility to give back to one’s community. In addition to his children, he will be missed greatly and remembered fondly by Barton’s wife Ellen (Quinn) Prives, Leslie’s wife Janey Norton, and former husband Brian Sullivan. Papa had a deep love and devotion to his grandchildren and they for him: Abbey and Dillon Prives; Dana, Taylor, and Jamie Sullivan and Alexandria Schlosky; and Jorie, Brenna and Tyler Rioux. In addition, he leaves behind his nephew Todd Prives and nieces Jill Drasnin, Wendy Boe, and Elizabeth Prives.
Joel’s sense of honor and decency could be seen in all aspects of his life. He believed he should pay for his fair share and not rely on others. Joel proudly distributed fliers for the NAACP in the 1960’s, the Human Rights Campaign in the 1990’s and was an avid supporter of the ACLU. Joel didn’t tolerate indifference.
He would lull you into deep conversation where, before you knew it, he would expand your thinking and as a result, open your heart to the plight of others.
In addition to being an amazing father and Papa, Joel was a dentist in Wellesley for over 4 decades. He cared for patients both in his office, and when needed, he would happily pack his portable drill and travel to their residences. Many of his patients became friends and shared times of celebration with our family.
Joel found joy in words; whether it be through talking, reading, writing or learning. In fact, he shared his enthusiasm for education with all, encouraging others to “just take one class.” Perhaps you may have seen him auditing many classes at Wellesley College over the years. His generosity was limitless as he
often financially supported his young patients to help further their education for a better life.
Music was another important part of Joel’s life. A devotee of jazz, Joel took great pleasure in playing his saxophone every day. He couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t want to get up and dance, but that didn’t stop him.
Most of all, Joel loved the ocean and travel. He, along with his children, spent many summers at Nantasket Beach. Later in life, Joel enjoyed the beaches in Falmouth where he ran numerous Falmouth Road Races. Joel would pack up his children and grandchildren for an adventure to Provincetown to walk on the breakwater, sand dunes, and go on many whale watch excursions. He would always end the day with an ice cream, kiddie size of course! Joel’s traveling took him to all four corners of the earth and his treasured objects were rugs, tapestries, and art from around the globe
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, a celebration of life for Joel will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to one of the following organizations: Alzheimer’s Association, ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, or BirthRight Israel.