Friends, family celebrate retiring Belpre dentist
BELPRE — Many in the Belpre community came out Sunday to wish long-time dentist Dr. Dwight K. Poole well as he retires from his practice.
Over 100 friends, employees, patients and others gathered at the Belpre VFD Bingo Hall to celebrate his career, tell funny stories and honor the man many felt made a significant impact in their lives and on the area.
“This day means everything to me,” Dr. Poole said. “I have always known this is a wonderful town with great people.
“It has been good to me.”
Poole has been practicing dentistry or 48 years in Belpre with an office on Maple Street. He graduated from the West Virginia University School of Dentistry and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Dentistry in Atlanta.
Poole was raised in St. Marys and wanted to be a dentist since he was in the eighth grade.
He has been married to his wife Jackie for 52 years. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
Poole came to Belpre in September 1970, being brought into the existing practice of Dr. Bill Miller as a partner.
He coached baseball and restarted the peewee basketball league. He has been president of the Belpre Jaycees, Belpre Chamber of Commerce and the Belpre Rotary Club. He served on the Belpre Foundation.
He helped get the chemistry lab and greenhouse at Belpre High School started.
Poole has made 12-14 mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua with Jackie accompanying him on a number.
Employees talked about his professionalism and caring nature and how he was a mentor to many who worked for him.
Carol Knepshield who worked the front desk at Poole’s practice for a number of years talked about everything he has done for the people of this area and the community as a whole.
“His career has been full and very rewarding,” she said. “The community has been lucky to have him.
“He has volunteered countless hours of time.”
There are people he has helped financially and some with their careers, but everyone has been touched by his generosity in different ways over the years, she said. She described Poole as someone who was an endless resource of energy and ideas.
“Look around this room and you will see friends who hold him in great esteem,” Knepshield said. “He may be hanging up his drill, but he is by no means done.
“This guy has so much more to give. It is not over, it has just begun.”
Patients talked about how he cared for them and their families over the years. Many patients who have been with him 30-40 years or more. Patient Jim Anderson talked about how Poole took care of him, his wife and their three kids.
“It was always nice to see him with a smile with his wife right there by his side,” he said.
He talked about becoming friends with Poole and how he appreciated how he was a man of God in all he does.
“I appreciate all you have done,” Anderson told Poole.
Patient Brent Saunders talked about how Poole made time if a patient needed something immediately.
“I can’t list the number of times he made a special effort to come in and meet our schedule,” he said.
Saunders said he enjoyed talking with Poole about education and appreciates the time and money they put into Belpre City Schools. He appreciated Poole’s service to God and hoped that now that Poole was retired, he might be able to join him on a mission trip at some point.
Flo Harphold worked for Poole for over 42 years as an Chair-Side Assistant in Poole’s office. Their staff always did everything as a team. Many employees have over 15 years of experience in that office.
“He has a heart of gold,” she said. “I don’t think his patients could of found anyone who took care of him the way he did.
“Teamwork was one of the things he stressed. He would do anything for anyone.”
Poole said he is planning to stay busy after he retires, joking he might learn how to play golf better.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I will be able to stay busy.
“I’m not going to move away and retire some other place. That would be crazy. This place has it all.”
Poole thanked everyone who came out Sunday for him and his wife.
“It is wonderful to have this opportunity to have everyone together,” he said. “It is wonderful to have friends like you.
“There have been so many wonderful people here. I couldn’t help but enjoy every minute of it.”