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Long time Marshalltown dentist retires

T-R photo by Thomas Nelson John Collison hands Kent Downing the keys to his old practice on Main Street. Collison is retiring after 40 years working as a dentist.

For 40 years John Collison has helped keep Marshalltown mouths clean.

Collison will soon take a well deserved retirement to golf, travel and enjoy his family. He announced his retirement in a letter to his patients on June 15.

“It has been my honor to be your dentist. In some cases, I have treated three generations of your family. Each of you has become a valued friend,” Collison said in his letter.

He is a third-generation dentist and grew up in Marshalltown and has seen the city change over time.

In 1971 he graduated from Marshalltown High School. From there he went to Grinnell College and then the University of Iowa for his dentistry degree.

“I started on July 7, 1980,” Collison said. “A lot of my patients were friends or family.”

In some cases Collison’s patients were taken care of by previous family members.

“A lot of my patients came from my grandfather’s practice,” he said.

Collison first decided to be a dentist after a brief foray into teaching at Miller Junior High in Marshalltown.

He taught for a little less than a year.

During his 40 years as a dentist he has seen changes in the demographics of Marshalltown and the teeth of his patients.

“There was a time when it was unusual to find dental decay and now it seems to be coming back more,” Collison said. ‘It can be frustrating and rewarding to see someone change their dental health.”

He did not have any plans to retire, but the COVID-19 pandemic required him to close his doors and the time just seemed right to move on.

“It seemed like a good time to retire,” Collison said.

Kent Downing will take over the practice.

Downing first started working in Marshalltown in 2015 at Hintz Family Dentistry.

“His goal has been to make dentistry a positive experience that is centered on the needs of each patient,” Collison said.

Downing hopes to combine the practices under one roof at 210 W. Main St.

“He’s been in practice for five years in Marshalltown,” Collison said.

From here he plans to sit back and have fun. He’s been golfing, enjoying his grandchildren and restoring old English cars.

Collison will split his time between Colorado to visit his grandchildren and Marshalltown.

“Many of you are more than patients, but friends who I looked forward to seeing each visit,” he wrote. “I will deeply miss you all.”

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Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or nelson@timesrepublican.com

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