Photo above by Sean Roney / Contributed Photo below
Edward Ballengee in his office after closing March 31 for health reasons. After 57 years of dental practice, he said he wishes to raise cattle on his South County ranch. Below, Ballengee (left) receives a proclamation from Mayor Mike LeBarre at the King City Council meeting April 10 declaring that day as “Dr. Ed Ballengee Day” for his overall service to the community.
BY SEAN RONEY
FOR KING CITY RUSTLER
KING CITY — Edward Ballengee closed his dental office at the end of March, and a party is planned for Saturday with friends and past patients to celebrate his more than 55 years of practice in King City.
“I’ve had a happy time here in King City,” Ballengee said. “I’ve had the pleasure of helping lots of people and I’m quite happy to have been able to do that for 55 years.”
With decades of practice, Ballengee said, “I have quite a few families where I’ve treated multiple generations. It’s been a privilege to get to know people and have them trust you.”
The longtime dentist said he is proud of his work and ability to retire in his 80s, though he planned to practice until he was 90.
Of his retirement, Ballengee explained, “In November, I developed a hernia and I had an operation. I lost an awful lot of blood and they had to give me a transfusion. I haven’t had the energy that I used to have since that.”
He made the decision to announce his retirement in January.
Ballengee came to King City in 1963 after a tour of duty in Fort Hunter Liggett, where he said he liked the atmosphere of the town, at the time with a population of almost 3,000 people. The air, water, fairgrounds and hospital were all aspects of the town he said impressed him.
Since then, he has been involved in numerous community groups and projects, including the Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Mustang Bench, SoMoCo Center for Performing Arts, Camerata Singers, Community Church, fundraisers and wilderness cleanups, among others. He was recognized as the King City Citizen of the Year in 1979.
Last week Ballengee received a proclamation at the King City Council meeting declaring April 10 as “Dr. Ed Ballengee Day” by Mayor Mike LeBarre for his overall service to the community.
He and his wife, Mary, raised their daughters, Paulette and Mimi, in King City, and now have five great-grandchildren.
“I’ve been very blessed. I’ve got a lot to be happy about,” Ballengee said. He emphasized the importance of faith in his practice, noting, “My patients know I pray while I’m doing my work.”
Dentistry was a lifelong dream for Ballengee, who said he wanted to go into the practice since the age of 12 after meeting his local dentist, Dr. Pond, in Taft.
Along the way, Ballengee said, “I’ve had two wonderful employees. One has worked for me for 42 years, the other one for 23 years.”
Those employees, Debby McCoy and Clarissa Alonzo, first met him as patients at age 5 and 6, respectively. Additionally, he noted Paula Harris worked for him for 20 years.
The building will remain property of its owner, with that owner to decide what business goes into the former dental office. Referrals and recommendations have been made to patients.
Ballengee said his plans for the future now include looking to obtain the startup money to raise black Angus cattle, which he raised decades ago on his 227-acre ranch. “I wouldn’t have a large herd. I’d have about eight cows and one bull,” he said. In his earlier cattle operation, he said his daughters would interact with them, leading to gentle bulls among the herd.
Overall, Ballengee said, “Not too many dentists practice in one location for 55 years,” adding, “I wanted to retire being quite pleased with all the work I’ve done for the people over the years. You have to be proud of what you do.”
He noted, “I saved people’s teeth and prevented gum disease. And very often, by getting them to take magnesium, I helped them to not get heart attacks.”
The upcoming party will be a potluck from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Church in King City, with the April 21 date coinciding with Ballengee’s 82nd birthday.