US Navy

Lawrence T. Istvan, D.D.S.

August 6, 1927 ~ August 25, 2020 (age 93)

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Well-known and respected Wilkes-Barre dentist, Lawrence T. Istvan, D.D.S., passed into eternal life Tuesday morning while in the care of the Residential Hospice inpatient unit at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre, following a recent illness.

Born August 6, 1927 in the Parsons section of Wilkes-Barre, he recently celebrated his 93rd birthday.  He was the second youngest child of the late Joseph Matthew and Mary (France) Istvan.

He attended the former Calvin Elementary and Guthrie schools in Wilkes-Barre before graduating in 1945 from James M. Coughlin High School, where he excelled on the track and football teams.

Following his high school graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Navy, serving on the U.S.S. Forster (DE-334), which was deployed at the end of WWII in the Pacific Theatre.

At the time of his Honorable Discharge, Dr. Istvan held the rank of Seaman First Class.

He returned home following his military service, and with the help of the G.I. bill attended King's College.  He graduated in 1952 with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry.  He married the former Dolores Cross and settled in the Rolling Mill Hill section of the city.

Following his college graduation, he relocated to Syracuse, N.Y., where he worked as a chemist for Bristol Labs until 1955.  Later that year,, Dr. Istvan attended dental school at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a member of the Delta Sigma Delta fraternity.  He graduated in 1959.

Returning to his familial roots, he opened his dental practice at 124 Grove St., later moving just across the street to 143 Grove St., in the Rolling Mill Hill section of the city.

For 48 years, Dr. Istvan served patients from all over Northeastern PA and beyond.  However, his beloved Rolling Mill Hill remained his practice's home base.  Over the years, many patients entrusted Dr. Istvan with their dental care because of his high quality work and professional artistry. 

His practice was an integral tile in the mosaic of the energetic Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood, which included the former Wyoming Valley Hospital, Passeri's Market and the medical offices of the equally respected Drs. Kistler, Decker and Chung; the Boyd Dodson Elementary School, a town library, numerous churches of various denominations and Ziggy's and Mrs. Nolan's candy stores.  This neighborhood was self-sufficient, and Dr. Istvan's offices were located in the heart of it all.

On March 31, 2007, at the age of 79, Dr. Istvan treated his last patient.

Throughout his life, he was actively involved with the Lions Club and Masonic Lodge and was a member of the Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter.

His passions included big band music, WWII history, the opera, football, and golf.  He travelled the world, but his favorite destination was his home.

Dr. Istvan was preceded in death by his first wife, the former Dolores Cross in 1973; his second wife, the former Jacqueline Rioux-Klenner in 2001; brothers Cyril and Edward Istvan, sister Col. Dorothy Istvan, three half-sisters, Margaret Brown, Ann Istvan, Helen Carvin and his lifelong close friend Irv Langel.

Left to cherish their wonderful memories are his daughter Deborah Istvan McLain, Jefferson Township; grandchildren Robert McLain and Alexandra McLain, step-children Kevin Klenner and Jayne Klenner and her son Giles Moore; several nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and may former patients.

Due to the restrictions of the current health crisis, there will be no formal visitation.  Relatives and  and friends are invited to join Debbie and her family for graveside committal services Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery,1594 S. Main St., Hanover Township  Those attending are kindly asked to assemble in the parking area of the John V. Morris Family Funeral Home, 625 N. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre by 10:30 a.m.  Reverend Thomas Looney, C.S.C. of King’s College, and the Reverend Mr. Joseph DeVizia, permanent deacon to Our Lady of Hope Parish, Wilkes-Barre, will serve as co-celebrants for the Rite of Committal.

The John V. Morris Family Funeral Homes Inc. are honored to care for our cousin Dr. Larry and his family at this time.  

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lawrence T. Istvan, D.D.S., please visit our floral store.


Gathering of Family and Friends
August 29, 2020

10:15 AM to 10:30 AM
North Wilkes-Barre Location
625 North Main Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705-1795

Graveside Service
August 29, 2020

11:00 AM
Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery
1594 South Main Street
Hanover Township, PA 18706

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