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Dr. Grimm retiring after 46 years as dentist in Charles City

Dr. Grimm retiring after 46 years as dentist in Charles City
Marsha and Dr. Greig Grimm stand outside their house near Charles City. The husband and wife dental team will be retiring on Monday after 46 years of treating patients. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra
By Kelly Terpstra,

There have been tears shed, laughs shared and plenty of warm hugs.

Dr. Greig Grimm, a dentist in Charles City for 46 years, is bidding farewell to a practice where patients have become friends and like family.

Retirement is just around the corner.

“I wouldn’t have stayed in practice for 46 years if it wouldn’t have been for the people and the practice. They were fantastic. We had so much fun,” said Grimm. “The last six months to a year, all we’ve been doing is hugging.”

Saying goodbye to patients that he has known for almost a half century might not be easy, but it helps to know they should be in good hands.

“We really appreciate having Dr. Hansen expand his space so that he could invite my patients into his practice,” said Grimm, 71.

Dr. Scott Hansen owns Central Park Dentistry in Charles City, where Grimm has worked for the past sixth months to help ease his patient’s transition.

“It’s not been very easy to make the decision to stop because we’re not going to see them anymore,” said Grimm. “I want to thank the patients for being a part of that family.”

Grimm, who has worked alongside his wife, Marsha, for all of those 46 years since he first started his practice in Charles City in 1973, will officially bid adieu today (Monday).

“It’s really a retirement of Marsha and I,” said Greig.

Grimm first attended Iowa State University after he graduated from Cedar Rapids Washington High School in the late 1960s. It was while in Ames that he had a question that needed answering.

“I couldn’t figure out what to do there. I tried everything. So my advisor sent me to Iowa. The counselor said ‘What do you like to do?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know. I like sciences and people and working with my hands.’ The next thing I knew I was taking a test for dental school.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Greig graduated from the University of Iowa Dental School in 1973. Around Christmas 1972, the doctor he would buy his practice from had been having health issues, so Grimm came to Charles City as a dental student to help out and get the practice caught up.

He would come back after graduation and never leave.

“I kind of fell in love with the town in 1972,” said Greig.

He’s been married to Marsha for 40 years, and she has been a dental assistant and office manager all that time.

“It’s been great. There aren’t words to say how much it’s meant to us,” said Marsha.

Greig and Marsha both joked about what some of their patients say about them being almost inseparable.

“They’ll look at Marsha and they’ll say, ‘how can you work with him for 46 years and then still go home with him?’” Greig smiled. “The patients will miss her more than they will me.”

Greig and Marsha’s daughter, Megan Blickenderfer, is also a dental assistant at Central Park Dentistry. She worked for her parent’s practice for almost 15 years.

“We’ve been a true family practice,” said Greig.

What does the future hold for the Grimms?

They’ll have plenty of time to continue to travel and see their grandchildren, who are in middle school and reside in California and North Carolina.

Greig and Marsha also like to take vacations in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.

Greig keeps busy with his collection of old boat motors that he rebuilds. He also likes to hunt pheasants and shoot clay pigeons.

“I’m going to shoot more, fish more and hunt,” laughed Greig.

Greig and Marsha will have to get used to some changes after Monday, when they’ll no longer open the doors to their business to help out their patients who have become like a second family to them.

“A lot of the patients are sitting there going, ‘You’re going to retire? What am I going to do? Who is going to take care of me?’” Greig said.

But just what will the husband and wife dental team do knowing they won’t have to set an early morning alarm to get out of bed?

“Somebody said Sunday nights will never be the same because we won’t have to worry about going to work the next morning,” Marsha said, smiling.