TAMPA — Dentist Rudy Weihe didn't need piped-in music. He supplied his own.
While probing a patient's mouth with picks, Dr. Weihe hummed songs from the 1920s — give or take. He would offer a dollar if you could name that tune.
A St. Petersburg College biology professor named Starr Culver found Dr. Weihe in 1965, on a colleague's recommendation.
"My first impression was that he didn't hurt," said Starr Weihe, 72. The dentist packed gold into her teeth. Two years later, he put a diamond on her finger.
The singing dentist became one of the state's best. He led the Pinellas County Dental Association and held memberships in several organizations, such as the Florida Academy of Practice Management and the Royal Society of Health of Great Britain.
Dr. Weihe died Wednesday at Tampa General Hospital. He was 95. He practiced in the Chicago area and St. Petersburg, and moved to Tampa five years ago.
"He was the very finest dentist I ever saw using gold work," said Dr. Geoffrey Weihe, 65, who followed his father into dentistry.
Dr. Weihe grew up in Oak Park, Ill., the son of a tool and die maker. A man of many talents, he boxed as a lightweight and played the piano while working his way through the University of Illinois and its dentistry school.
He married and raised a family. After his first wife died of cancer at 47, he started over in St. Petersburg. Starr Weihe, whom he married in 1967, taught biology at St. Pete Junior College (now St. Petersburg College). Though she was 23 years his junior, they seemed made for each other.
They went to the symphony. He made her giggle. She taught him to appreciate art, though he couldn't stomach anything too abstract. They vacationed in England more than 40 times.
"He enjoyed following his wife around," said longtime friend Eugene Patterson, 85, a former St. Petersburg Times editor and president who twice accompanied the Weihes to London. "He concealed it as best he could, but he liked the country."
At home in Point Brittany and later in Tampa's Canterbury Tower, they could be alone, together. He watched golf while she read, and neither minded.
At 3 a.m. Wednesday, on impulse, Mrs. Weihe awoke to check on her husband. She put her hand on his brow. They talked for an hour. He died three hours later.
Dr. Weihe never stopped singing or playing the piano. At his 95th birthday party in June, with an orchestra's backing, he serenaded his wife with Let Me Call You Sweetheart.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.