WHEN you know, you know. That was the message from Dr Steve Massey after calling time on his four-decade-long career in dentistry, most of which he has spent in Tamworth.
Dr Massey has worked at Tamworth Oral Health and Dental Care for nearly 25 years, but will hang up the tools on Wednesday, June 30.
Hundreds of people across town would remember and probably recognise Dr Massey, with the 63-year-old having seen different generations of the same family walk through the doors of his office.
He said it has been "lovely" to watch patients he knew as kids grow into adults, and has thoroughly enjoyed his career.
Incredibly, Dr Massey never even planned on being a dentist, and actually wanted to study medicine after school.
It didn't pan out so he took up dentistry, and after a few years he discovered a passion for his profession which he couldn't let go.
"I started dentistry with the view of switching over to medicine, but I just got to like dentistry so I'm still here," he said.
His partner at work, Dr Raghu Vangala, said it will be sad to see Dr Massey go after getting to know him so well over the years.
He described him as a man of action, a true professional, and someone that deeply cared about his patients.
"He's exceptionally caring, he loves his patients, people think he's very tough but he's a true gentlemen inside," he said.
"People that know him and have seen him for a long time know he has a real emotional side inside the tough skin."
But what's next for Dr Massey? Well, he admitted golf would be a big winner now he's got more time on his hands, but it's something else that he's most looking forward to.
"I'm into timber, making furniture and cutting boards, anything timber so that's going to be my retirement," he said.
"And we're getting a caravan delivered next week, so a bit of travel like that around NSW."
So his family - wife Sarah, sons Jack, Tom and Luke and daughter Sarah - will not only get more time with him, but may get some extra furniture out of it too.
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