by John Little, D.M.D. ('93)
When a restaurant is closed, diners can choose another. But when a food pantry is not open, people go hungry. And so at eight o'clock each Saturday morning, 85-year-old
Dr. William Joule, NJDS professor emeritus and Orthodontics Department co-founder, feeds between 200 and 300 people at an Asbury Park, N.J., soup kitchen.
Dr. Joule began the kitchen eight years ago after realizing that while local pantries provided food during the week, they didn't on weekends, and many people went hungry. "There were instances where families could not afford enough food or would either lose or have their food stamps stolen, and thus were forced to go hungry over the weekend," says Dr. Joule, whose motto is "a free meal to those in need."
The kitchen subsists thanks to a devoted group of volunteers and donations from Welsh Farms and the owner of several Foodtown supermarkets. Individuals have been generous, too, including rock singer Jon Bon Jovi, who gave the kitchen $10,000. Dr. Joule takes the unassuming jobs of serving food, sweeping the floor, and cleaning up. The soup kitchen's co-founder, Linda Heerden, handles most of the organizational tasks.
Dr. Joule is accustomed to launching new endeavors. In 1958, he and another professor, Dr. Frank Frates, helped begin the NJDS (then Seton Hall) Orthodontics Department. "Early on, we were not really sure how to implement a successful curriculum," recalls Dr. Joule. "We basically planned each day's session based on how well students performed the previous day."
Dr. Joule's orthodontic career was more than academics. "It involved the best of three worlds-private practice, teaching, and military service," he says. After graduating from the University of Maryland Dental School in 1934, he received his orthodontic training at Columbia. Dr. Joule then entered private practice in Kearny, N.J. (The office had the first cepholmetric radiograph machine in New Jersey, Dr. Joule says, with his partner and a machinist building it themselves.) Dr. Joule joined the Army medical service during World War II and achieved the rank of colonel. After the war, he practiced in Morristown, N.J., before settling in nearby Madison, where he practiced until 1983.
In 1988, Dr. Joule retired from NJDS and became professor emeritus. He misses the interaction he had with students. "The undergraduate dental students were always a lot of fun, and the post-graduate students were always a challenge," he says. Dr. Joule speaks to orthodontic residents each year and attends NJDS functions, such as Omicron Kappa Upsilon dinners.
Since retiring to Allenhurst, N.J., Dr. Joule enjoys time spent with Laverne, his wife of 50 years, their two children, Bill Jr. and Sandra, and two grandchildren, Jessica and Justin. Dr. Joule also golfs two to three days a week, but much of his time is spent volunteering. In addition to helping at the soup kitchen, he volunteers every Tuesday at the Red Cross of Fort Monmouth and is on call for the Central Jersey Blood Center. He plays down his generous spirit, but not his special cause-feeding the hungry. Says Dr. Joule, "There are many people out there who need help, and if anybody says these people don't need food, they should come see me."