Thoughts and Reflections from Dr. Cooney
Dear Family and Friends of Cooney Orthodontics –
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. Michael Fleming. A native Trojan, Dr. Fleming started our practice in downtown Troy in 1960 after completing his specialty training at Columbia University. Over the years, he built a thriving and successful orthodontic practice and positively impacted the lives of thousands of patients. It was while he was creating beautiful smiles for my older siblings that I got my first exposure to orthodontics. As a young kid tagging along, it was always apparent to me that he was a joyful and happy person who loved what he did and was genuinely interested in each and every patient he treated.
I began my orthodontic career at 15, when Dr. Fleming offered me the job of building superintendent at the office. In the nearly 50 years since, he was a role model, mentor, colleague, and friend and played an outsized role in my professional and personal development over the course of these many years. To me, he was an aspirational figure, one who’s easy laugh and approachable manner were always on display. He was welcoming and generous with everyone and was an exemplar of what a true professional should be. He gave of his time, talent, and resources to many civic, charitable, and educational organizations throughout his life. Dr. Fleming was always so very welcoming, supportive, and encouraging to young dentists just starting out.
For me, it was the realization of a lifelong dream to join him in practice in 1988 after completing my own orthodontic specialty training. I was blessed with the opportunity and privilege of working with him for 11 years before he retired in 1999. In his retirement years, Dr. Fleming took a special pride in watching the ongoing evolution and growth of the practice – from the move to our current Troy location on Federal Street in 1999, to the opening of our Ballston Lake office in 2012 and, most recently, with Dr. Canaan Tyner joining me in providing care for our patients
Dr. Tyner and I have been tasked with the responsibility and obligation to carry his professional legacy into the future; a responsibility we accept and fully embrace. We will do so in a manner that continues to reflect the fundamental principles that Dr. Fleming established at the outset all those years ago. For now, however, we mourn the loss of a very special man – a terrific orthodontist, certainly. But more than that, a fundamentally good and decent person who contributed so much to so many for so long and who did so happily, joyfully, and unconditionally. With his passing, the world has become a somewhat poorer place, but in the aggregate, it is a much better place for the life he lived while he was with us.
Thank you, Mike, for the many kindnesses you bestowed upon me. It has been the great privilege of my life to have your mentorship, guidance, and friendship these many years. God Bless you!