By CHRISTIN COYNE
After 46 years of treating the general dentistry needs of Weatherford, Dr. Paul Phillips saw his last patient Tuesday afternoon.
When Phillips arrived in Weatherford in 1967, a farmer and dairyman turned dentist, there were just four other active working dentists in town, he said.
There was no interstate highway running through town at the time and the county’s total population was under 34,000.
Of those four other dentists, only one is still in business, Phillips said.
Phillips said he is retiring because he has the opportunity.
His practice in the small office tucked in a shaded corner of East Rentz Street will be taken over by Dr. Guy Walker, who worked as a dentist in Weatherford before practicing dentistry in Missouri for many years, according to Phillips.
“I’m 86 years old,” Phillips said. “I guess it’s about time, anyway.”
“We used to have a joke around here: He’ll drop dead with a drill in his hand,” Annette Lamb said, who has worked for Phillips for most of the last 40 years and currently staffs the front desk.
There has been little turnover in Phillips’ office over the years, according to Lamb.
Many of Phillips’ patients have been coming to see him for decades, she said.
“He’s a very honest and giving person,” Lamb said, adding that Phillips’ helps the underdog.
Lamb also noted Phillips’ commitment to the community, including serving nearly a decade on the city’s planning and zoning commission in the 1970s, 30 years on the municipal utility board, three five-year terms on the regional water planning board beginning in 1990 and as a member of Rotary since 1967.
“He’s just a good person,” Lamb said. “You may not like what he tells you but he’s telling you the truth.”
Phillips, who had a busy day seeing patients Tuesday, also got an impromptu visit from a former employee who, after about 18 years working for Phillips and moving to Houston a couple of years ago, decided to make the drive to Weatherford for his last day.