By Jesse Cnockaert, Times-Advocate Staff
EXETER — Ever since Dr. William McGregor announced his retirement, he’s been having the longest goodbye of his life.
McGregor has been practicing dentistry in Exeter for more than three decades. His retirement, effective June 1, completes 35 years of caring for people’s teeth.
McGregor, who has lived in Exeter for 34 of those years, has come to know his patients as friends and neighbours. Leaving dentistry has been a process involving a lot of hugs, handshakes, and a few tears from those who will miss seeing him at the dentist’s office.
“Every day I go to work and I’m saying goodbye to people; some of them I’ve worked with for 30 or more years. It makes it feel like a lot more than a job,” McGregor said.
From when he was young, McGregor knew he wanted to be involved in either medicine or dentistry. His family doctor suggested that McGregor should choose dentistry.
“Over time I discovered I really liked working with my hands, doing something concrete. Dentistry allows you to create on a miniature scale. You have to be able to carve. When you’re doing work in people’s mouths, it’s a combination of art and science,” McGregor said.
McGregor started practicing in 1980 along with Doctors Lingard and Jean at the Huron Dental Centre. He opened an office of his own in 1983 on Sanders Street.
Advancing technology has changed dentistry during the years McGregor has been in practice. He’s seen the rise of the digital age, and his office became computerized in 1996.
“Now we have digital x-rays. Everything is becoming digitalized,” he said. “There’s soft tissue lasers and all different types of technologies that weren’t around when I graduated. It’s allowed us to do things we couldn’t do before.”
McGregor sold his practice in 2008 to Dr. Kevin Warner, and the two have been working together since. In December, the practice moved to 53 Main St. S.
McGregor has taken an active involvement in his community as a Lions Club member for the last 34 years. He has also sat on the residents’ committee for Community Living, sat on the United Church board, and was a Big Brother for seven years.
McGregor doesn’t plan on moving away from Exeter, but he does hope to enjoy his retirement by getting in some travelling. McGregor and his wife, Susan, have recently acquired a motor home. This summer, the two will explore the east coast of Canada, and in November, point themselves south and head in the direction of Fort Myers, Florida.
Retiring will also give McGregor more time to cycle, which is one of his passions.
“Thank you for the support. It’s been a great life and a great career in Exeter. We’re staying. This is our home,” he said.