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Willis retires after 40 years of dental service

October 11, 2018

WESTVILLE – Dr. Timothy Willis will soon be retiring after 40 years of practicing dentistry.

The Westville native opened his first practice in Union Mills in 1979, moving to Westville in 1988, where he remains a fixture in the community.

“My dentist back then wanted me to buy the practice, and I already knew the people there,” he said about working in a small town. “I grew up in Westville, so I wanted to stay here.”

Patients, those who didn’t already know, were advised by email announcements.

“I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me during these years, some of you for the entire 40 years,” Willis said in the announcement. “The best part of every day was simply seeing each one of you and visiting with one another about our lives and families.”

Asked about his fondest memories, Willis said, “It sounds corny to say this, but it’s just the people. It’s a family dentistry, we’ve got kids and their parents, grandparents and grandkids.

“I’ve seen kids grow up here through several generations,” he said. “Everyone has been treating me so nice; they are telling me ’I miss you.”

Danielle Boyd, of Rolling Prairie, a receptionist at Westville Dentistry for the last 12 years, says her best memory of Dr. Willis was how “friendly and easygoing” he is to work for.

“I love coming into work,” she said. “He also puts up with a lot from us. I cried when I heard he was leaving, we are all like family.”

In 40 years, of course, Willis has seen some odd and unusual stories in his office, but said he didn’t want to share them publicly. “I can think of things, but there’s obscenity involved.”

Dentistry has changed a lot in the years since Willis graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry.

“We can repair so many things now than we couldn’t back then,” Willis said. “The science and technology has drastically changed the world of dentistry. Almost everything is fixable now.

“But the people, they’re still the same.”

Willis has been involved in other things besides the local practice, but all involved dentistry.

“I used to go to Haiti, on two different trips, to help with dentistry down there,” he said. “I’ve been on various boards, once a director on a board for dentistry in Indiana. I was also doing peer reviews.

“I have been very active throughout the years,” he said.

Patients of Dr. Willis won’t be left out in the cold. His successor at 444 N. Flynn Road, in Westville, will be Dr. David Reed, who has been in practice for 11 years.

When Reed takes over the practice later this month, the name will change to Westville Family Dentistry. His former practice was in Crown Point.

Dr. Willis’ staff will be continuing on with Dr. Reed, also a graduate of the IU School of Dentistry.

Asked what he plans to do during his retirement, Willis said he has “no specific plans.”

And as for hanging up his drill for the last time?

“It’s a definite life change,” he said. “It’s the entire practice, it’s been my life. It will be a dramatic change, as I don’t remember not being a dentist.”

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