Strong ties hold Dr. R.W. (Bob) McDougall to the building at 2108 Oak Bay Ave.
“Since I was 13 or 14, I was associated with this building,” he said Monday. Duties there ran the gamut from cutting the lawn, to serving as a dental technician to helping the community as a dentist up to his retirement last Friday.
“I just really love this little corner of Oak Bay,” said the third-generation dentist. He even attended Kindergarten not far away, at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Wilmot.
His father, the late Doug McDougall, started the practice in that building in 1971, moving up from 2223 Oak Bay Ave. where he’d worked since 1954. The younger McDougall took over in 1991.
Grandfather Dick McDougall, practised locally from 1946 to1966 in a building that stood where the CIBC is in Oak Bay village.
“I was the least likely to go into dentistry in my family,” says Bob McDougall. At 23, working as a dental technician full time at the family practice, he looked at his father’s fulfillment and made a shift.
“I saw what he was doing and he was happy to go to work every day,” he said.
He upgraded his math and sciences then completed a bachelor of science in biology at the University of Victoria before heading for the University of British Columbia to study dentistry.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now,” McDougall said. “It’s a lot of problem solving. And as you get into the career you realize you’re helping people.”
Alongside professional accolades, the people are among the personal highlights.
He recalls one local patient in her 80s whose first dentist as a small child was his grandfather Dick McDougall working in Moosejaw, Sask. and McDougalls have been her only dentists. She’s among the teachers, mentors and others who have touched his life that flow through his chair.
“I was born in Oak Bay. I’ve been working on people who some of them have known me longer than I have known them,” he said. “It’s really been an honour to care for those people.”
Travel is on the retirement agenda, again following grandfather’s footsteps.
One target is the source of his grandfather’s photo that graces the dental office hall – a 1954 image of the Taj Mahal.
“I want to go there,” McDougall said. “My grandfather, he went around the world about seven times.”
Then there’s the gardening and of course the ever-growing extended family that includes 23 nieces and nephews.
“We’re in Oak Bay, there’s always lots of gardening – and family,” he said.
With no more McDougalls in line, another Oak Bay High graduate Dr. Sean Filan started Monday at the Oak Bay office.
• 26 – years Dr. Bob McDougall served Oak Bay as a dentist
• 71 – years McDougalls provided dentistry in the community
• 83 – years of service here combined
• 94 – years of family dentistry
• 106 – years combined dentistry by Dick, Doug and Bob McDougall