Dentist found dead while jogging | The Daily Reflector


Published: July 24, 2015

Dentist found dead while jogging

By Sharieka Breeden, The Daily Reflector

A local dentist known for his healthy lifestyle and giving spirit reportedly died while jogging on Tuesday night in Winterville.

The Pitt County Medical Examiner’s Office reported Thursday that Hakeem M. Abdul-Karim died of sudden cardiac arrest. Abdul-Karim, 41, was the owner of Contemporary Dental Home, 124 Beacon Drive, near Fred’s Food Club on Winterville Parkway.

Someone in a passing vehicle spotted a body along Vernon White Road near Abdul-Karim’s neighborhood about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Winterville police responded at 10:04 p.m. to investigate and were able to confirm his identity and that no foul play was involved.

Abdul-Karim graduated from East Carolina University in 1995 and the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in 1999.

Dennis Mitchell, former Greenville City Councilman and a fraternity brother, was shocked by the news because Abdul-Karim was healthy and frequently participated in running events. Mitchell said he knew Abdul-Karim for about 10 years. The dentist also had a strong presence in his fraternity and community, Mitchell said.

Abdul-Karim was a charter member of the Omicron Gamma Sigma graduate chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, and his dental practice extended care to several people who otherwise would not have received it, Mitchell said.

“There were a lot of people who went to him that might not have the means to take care of everything they needed,” Mitchell said. “He made arrangements to make sure they had their dental care.”

Abdul-Karim was dedicated to his family and church as well, Mitchell said.

“He was overall a nice individual who put his heart and soul into the community,” he said. “He was a great guy.”

Greenville artist and former Daily Reflector pressman Pearless Speller said Abdul-Karim was his dentist, a fraternity brother and longtime friend.

“I found out on Wednesday,” Speller said. “He was a very active guy, played basketball every Sunday after church. He ran a lot and didn’t eat pork or beef or any red meat. He ate fish and chicken. He was cautious about what he ate. It just doesn’t add up. A lot of times people can be sicker than you realize, but he never complained about anything.”

Abdul-Karim’s volunteer efforts with youth and willingness to support others made him an asset to the community, Speller said. The dentist supported Speller’s efforts in 2008 when he put together the first African-American art show at the Greenville Art Museum.

“He was definitely a person I could always call on,” Speller said. “Hakim knew how to store your treasures in heaven rather than Earth because he invested in a lot of people.”

Speller said remembered his friend as a humble, funny man who was a great businessman and supported others.

“Sometimes in life you find a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother,” Speller said. “I loved him. I thought that when my father passed that was the last man I would cling to, but he was such a good man that he found himself right into my heart, and I fell in love with him. I miss him already.”