Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 31, 2013

Doctor retires, replaced by patient

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Dr. Bill Smith is apprehensive about his looming retirement, not because of who will replace him, but because he will leave people for whom he has cared for more than three decades.

The easy part was selecting a replacement after Smith’s 35 years working as a family practice doctor in Traverse City.

In fact, Smith knew the leading candidate for the job for years, from the time the man was born. That’s because Smith, 64, delivered Aaron Heindl nearly 30 years ago. He served as the young man’s family doctor for decades and helped form the image of what Heidl believes a doctor should be.

Later in September, Smith will hand over his 2,000 patients at the West Front Primary Care office to Heindl, a graduate of Traverse City schools and Wayne State University’s medical school.

Saying goodbye was the more difficult part for Smith.

Read about his story and his choice for a replacement in today’s Body & Soul on Page 1C.