OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Local dentist Dr. Angerman had Liberace as friend and patient

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2014-06-22T23:30:00Z 2014-06-23T18:19:16Z OFFBEAT: Local dentist Dr. Angerman had Liberace as friend and patientBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Dr. Robert Angerman, 76, of Crown Point, who died on June 12, was remembered by family and friends a week ago at his funeral at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.

I knew him years earlier, because I worked with his wife Sarah at The Times and so often enjoyed the couple's stories of their famous friend Liberace, who was one of Bob's patients, before the legendary Las Vegas pianist and showman died in 1987 at age 67.

Bob always said his friendship with Liberace (the glittering guy always referred to by the name of "Lee" by both Bob and Sarah) began because he was in the right place at the right time. His long-time dental practice in Merrillville was located in the Twin Towers, near Star Plaza Theatre. In 1980, he stopped by the small sundries shop located in the lobby of the office complex and was surprised to see Liberace also standing at the cashier. He was booked for a week of shows at the adjoining theater space and when he discovered there was a dentist's office so close, he asked to schedule an appointment since he was due.

"I think (my father) excelled in his practice because he was friends with a lot of his patients," Bob's son Bryon Angerman, of Crown Point, told The Times in a previous interview.

"There was a trust factor because he treated everyone how he wanted to be treated. He didn't look at Liberace as a major celebrity."

The Angerman Family still shares many wonderful stories about being able to call Liberace a family friend, their many shared dinners at the family's home in Dyer and vacation trips to see the entertainer perform in Las Vegas with backstage visits. Daughter Devin Angerman, also of Crown Point, even played "dress-up" by fishing through Liberace's many jewelry boxes.

Bob was a graduate of Merrillville High School's Class of 1956 and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1958. He served in the United States Navy from 1957-1963 and then graduated from Indiana University Dental School in 1968. He then founded Angerman Dental Corporation, where he practiced dentistry for 40 years.

Among the Times readers who emailed me with stories, one reader reminded me that Bob also made international news in December 1980 because of his unique hobby of designing silk-screened T-shirts, in connection with the U.S. Hostages with the Iran Hostage Crisis that captured TV and newspaper coverage for months. In December 1979, Bob created special red, white and blue T-shirts that featured the word "America" compressed to look like a mountain with an eagle rising up above and shipped 50 of the shirts to the hostages during the time Americans were encouraged to send Christmas cards. A year later, when the Iranians released film footage of the hostages at Christmas time, all of the captives were seen wearing Bob's T-shirt, with the exception of one, Duane Gillette of Columbia, Penn. who apologized on camera "for being out of uniform" because he "didn't have one of the T-shirts," prompting Bob to ship 20 more.

"You could probably find that T-shirt on Ebay," one reader wrote me.

"I've actually seen it in the last year or two on celebrities. Some may find it to be a novelty, but there was a real fervor attached to it at the time."

In addition to children Bryon and Devin, Bob is survived by three grandchildren: Miles, Logan, and Cameron Angerman; brother, Richard Angerman of Crown Point; sister, Dawn Scudder of Arizona; and nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by parents Robert and Lauretta Angerman. Pruzin & Little Funeral Service, 811 E. Franciscan Dr., Crown Point, handled the arrangements with memorials preferred by the family.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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