Dr. Wayne Johnson retired from dentistry recently, after 49 years of service in Lebanon.
Johnson, a Lebanon native, graduated the University of Tennessee in 1965 and worked for the Georgia State Public Health Service after graduation.
Johnson accepted a commission to join the United States Army in 1968. He was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. during the Vietnam War, but was not required to travel to the region during the conflict.
He left the Army in 1968 and moved back to his hometown and has been working as a dentist since.
Johnson said his desire to pursue dentistry emerged after seeing the passion displayed by Dr. Billy Howard when caring for his patients and his personal admiration for him. Howard practiced dentistry for 43 years and retired in 1994.
Johnson said his own retirement was due to age and his many decades of working. He said he was also concerned for his office staff and wanted to make sure they had jobs after he retired.
Johnson said his career taught him things he never thought were possible.
“I didn’t realize you could enjoy people this much,” he said. “I certainly appreciate them. It’s like you’re working on friends.”
Johnson said the people were his favorite part of the job and said he’s received a lot of cards and things celebrating his career.
Johnson said he’s looking forward to spending time with his family but said he’ll stay busy managing his office building which holds 11 offices.
All that’s missing from his exit from his career is a retirement party, which Johnson said hasn’t happened because of his busy schedule.