Helping Spokane one smile at a time: Local dental society establishes scholarship in honor of beloved oral surgeon

Mark and Diane Paxton met in dental school at the University of Washington and married in 1980. Their lives quickly filled with adventure, as they had two children and joined the Air Force together. They eventually relocated to Spokane, and Mark began to impact the community with his compassion and his skill for oral surgery, including a special interest in cleft lip and palate surgery.

Mark was passionate about education, providing extensive continuing education to the Spokane community.  His compassion was felt worldwide as well through his many trips to Colombia and Guatemala with Hearts in Motion to provide oral surgery for children. Over the years, Mark mentored hundreds of students and brought them along on mission trips. He also served a term as president of the Spokane Dental District Society (SDDS).

When Mark died in 2018, SDDS established a scholarship at Innovia Foundation in his honor. The recipient will be selected by an advisory committee that includes Diane Paxton, who still practices orthodontics in the Spokane area. Through the scholarship, Mark’s legacy of compassion will support students pursuing careers as dental hygienists, dental assistants or dental laboratory technicians to follow in his footsteps for years to come.