|Gail Houston will retire from Dr. Jeri Stull Orthodontics after 42 years of service.|
“After 42 years, it was time for me,” she said. “It was a split second decision that felt right.”
Houston has been a staple for the practice since it first opened with Dr. Rekow in the seventies.
“I’ve really been in this field all of my working life,” she said.
Lisa Guess has been working with Houston at the practice now for 40 years. “We’ve been together there for a long time, and I feel like she’s made me the woman that I am today,” Guess said. “She is a wonderful person.”
Michele Means, who has been at the practice for 14 years, shares the same sentiment for Houston, saying that "she's a truly amazing woman who has been the smiling face of the practice for all these years."
Houston has seen many patients come and go through the practice, and has even seen as many as four generations of families come through.
With over four decades of experience at the practice, Houston and her coworkers have had some memorable moments. Houston recalled a time that her coworkers set her up to believe the police were waiting at the office, and instead found a surprise 50th birthday party when she arrived at the office.
The staff at the office has good reason to feel like family. “We’ve been there long enough to go through births, weddings, funerals,” Houston said. “We’re a very tight-knit group.”
Sherree Ingram has been at the practice for 39 years, and fondly remembers all of the milestones that have happened during those years.
"People have had down times and good times, but sharing all those together as a group..." Ingram said. "We've all grown up together....We can all look back and laugh on a lot."
Mary Schweiraohann was surprised that what started out as a simple application turned into a great friendship. "I walked into the office and Gail was sitting at the front desk...she asked me a few questions and the rest was history," she said. "Here we are 39 years later. I never realized how that relationship would build. She has been the best worker, teacher, therapist, role model, but mostly a dear friend."
Houston said she will be enjoying her retirement by spending time with her 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, traveling, and spending time with friends. Although she may not be spending the same amount of time at the practice, she will never be far from her work family.
“They’ve assured me that I’ll still be included," Houston said. "That was part of the deal.”