NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It was a bittersweet day for Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn.
He examined his last patient Thursday. That's right. Dr. Van Horn is a dentist.
For 40 years, he's filled cavities, put in crowns, and performed a list of other procedures.
East Texas News was with the doctor as he saw his last few patients.
It's only fitting that among the last patients Van Horn' saw on his last day was former Nacogdoches Mayor A.L. Mangham, who turned 92 yesterday.
"Well, I was his first patient was the main reason why I wanted to be the last patient," Mangum said.
The two tell similar versions of the same story. In the early 70s, Van horn had car trouble in Nacogdoches. People were so nice he came back for a closer look. Mangham, a banker, showed him around and convinced him to stay.
"He said, 'I don't have much money.' I said, 'I'm in the money business, so I'll loan you money, that's easy,'" Mangum said. Anyway, we really hit it off."
"Strangely enough, this equipment was purchased in 1970 when I first came to town," Van Horn said. And little has been changed."
Even though dental equipment has changed a lot. Van horn said at age 70, it wouldn't make financial sense to upgrade.
Then there are parts of dentistry that never change.
"The drill still sounds the same," Van Horn said.
Van Horn said there's one thing he won't miss about the dentistry business.
"The inevitable anxiety in the environment in which I've made my living because even though they trust me, nobody wants to come to the dentist."
Van Horn even thought of changing careers, but loyal patients kept him in the profession.
"I have some families that we've treated four generations," Van Horn said. "Now, this guy was this tall when his mama started working for me."
That would be 28 years ago.
"It's gonna be sad, we're gonna miss everybody," said Melanie Musser, a dental hygienist.
Sad for van horn's sister too.
"The price of dentistry will go up for me," said Gigi Knibb, Van Horn's sister.
Van Horn saw his last patients Thursday, but he'll keep his license. He plans to continue mission work abroad and most likely here in East Texas.
Van Horn says he'll continue to come into the office at eight each morning.
The mayor plans to run for re-election in May.