Prosthodontist Michael Cortese of Princeton dies at 69

Michael Cortese

Prosthodontist Michael Cortese of Princeton died on Saturday, Jan 21 at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton.  He was 69.

Dr. Coetese was born in South Plainfield and spent his childhood there. As a young man, he reached the prestigious level of Eagle Scout and lettered in four sports every year at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen.  He enjoyed spending his summers at the Jersey Shore swimming, body surfing, and lifeguarding in Plainfield.  

A proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Cortese met his wife Angela while he was in college, and they were married in 1976.  They lived in Ridgefield Park while Michael pursued his doctor of medical dentistry from the Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Dentistry. Their son was born there in 1980. 

After Dr. Cortese earned his doctorate, the family moved to Texas, where their daughter was born in 1983.  During their time in Texas, he received his certificate in maxillofacial prosthetics and dental oncology from the University of Texas Health Science Center M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute.  The family moved to Princeton in 1987, where he established the facility which would later become Princeton Prosthodontics.

Dr. Cortese was a member of the prestigious American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics.  He is one of only 360 accredited maxillofacial prosthodontists worldwide. He was a member of the American College of Prosthodontics, American Dental Association, Society of Clinical Oncology, New Jersey Dental Association, Osseointegration Society, and Academy of Osseointegration.  

A skilled dental artist who created facial and oral prosthetics for patients to be able to function after cancer surgery, Dr. Cortese spent over thirty years healing and treating the Princeton community and beyond. He treated all of his patients like family. His staff never left him and Melissa Cowman, his dental assistant and practice administrator, worked with him side-by-side for more than thirty-five years. Michael was one of the very first dentists in the United States who was certified by Apollo Health collaborating with physicians to screen, prevent, and reverse Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Dr. Cortese loved all things Notre Dame, the Jersey Shore, cooking for his family, 60s music, and a good cigar. He proudly coached his daughter’s soccer team and other youth sports in the community.  He will be missed by his loving family and many friends.

He is survived by his loving wife, Angela (Morrison) Cortese, son Michael Cortese, daughter Lauren Cortese, his mother Josephine Cortese, three sisters and three brothers-in-law; Terry and Tony Mangion, Joanne and Martin Smith, Pati and Jim Brenn, a brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Nancy Cortese, and many nieces and nephews.  Michael is predeceased by his father, Michael A. Cortese.

A visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Mather Hodge Funeral Home at 40 Vandeventer Avenue in Princeton.  A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church at 216 Nassau Street in Princeton.