Huntington dental hygienist retires after 64 years of work

April 30, 2019

HUNTINGTON It was possibly the first and only time a line formed outside a dentist’s office.

Family, friends and patients of Carolyn Templeton, dental hygienist with Dr. Eric Ford Dentistry, gathered Sunday at the dentist’s office in Kinetic Park to wish Templeton well as she enters retirement after a dedicated 64-year career.

Templeton said the turnout was surprising to her, but it wasn’t surprising to those who lined up to give her a hug and in some instances shed a few tears.

Several in attendance had been seeing Templeton for years, following her from dentist to dentist.

One woman, who declined to share her name for the story, said Templeton had been cleaning her teeth since she was 12. She is now 74.

“She has seen me through growing up, being a teenager, going to college, getting married,” she said. “I have followed her from dentist to dentist as the dentists she worked with retired. She has worked with four generations of my family. She did my mother and dad’s, my husband and mine, my son’s and his two children. She has just been wonderful. I just couldn’t keep from crying.”

Her teeth are in wonderful shape, she added.

Templeton found what she loved in a not-so-traditional way.

“One day four of us were eating lunch at high school, and we decided we had never done anything bad, so we’d skip school,” Templeton said. “The next day, we went to a movie. Then the next day we got called to the dean of women’s office and she had a phone call. She told us to take a college catalogue and go to the auditorium and she would send someone for us. As we were skimming through the catalogue, we ran across dental hygiene at West Liberty State College, and we said that’s what we can do.”

All four of them applied and were accepted, but only three of them ended up attending. Templeton was the only one who stayed with it.

“I liked it,” Templeton said. “I always felt I was good for dental hygiene and dental hygiene was good for me.”

Templeton said she likes working with her hands, but she also likes working one-on-one with people.

Throughout her career, Templeton said she has seen a lot of good improvements in the world of dental hygiene. Monica Lucas, who manages the front office and has worked with Templeton for 19 years, said Templeton was always willing to learn and adapt to new technology.

Lucas said Templeton’s steadiness and sense of humor will be missed by her coworkers.

“She’s so kind,” Lucas said. “She’s just really is awesome. Can you imagine working for this long? She’s the hardest-working person.”

Templeton said she doesn’t really have plans to stop working, even if it’s not in dental hygiene. She owns rental properties, which she enjoys working on and plans to continue to do so.

She will also travel, with a trip to see her granddaughter graduate from Villanova University this spring and a trip to Ireland in the works for this fall.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.