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One might say Dr. O. William “Bill” Reeder, Jr. (’71) has taken the scenic route throughout his life. That not only surmises his professional life but his choice of residences as well. Born in Andalusia, AL and raised in Luverne, the UAB School of Dentistry alumnus was influenced to pursue a dental career by long-time Luverne dentist and also UAB alumnus, Dr. Billy Beall. “The UAB School of Dentistry had a great reputation. I thought my education was fair but very tough and my education put me in a position where I could make a difference,” said Reeder.

Bill ReederReeder graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University and took Dr. Beall’s advice to apply to the University of Alabama School of Dentistry. He formed strong bonds with some of his dental school classmates. Although he was a faithful Auburn graduate, back then dental students also got tickets to University of Alabama football games. “I had the best of both worlds, so I pulled for both football teams back then”, he said.

After graduating from dental school, Reeder fulfilled his military obligation by serving two years as Captain in the U.S. Air Force at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernadino, CA. He returned to the UAB School of Dentistry for a one year teaching assignment. “I then decided to specialize and was accepted into the endodontic residency program at the Medical College of Georgia”. He said that he had learned from some “solid” faculty at UAB and in Georgia, which influenced his decision to join the faculty at the LSU School of Dentistry. Reeder was one of three faculty members who started the endodontic post graduate residency program at LSU in New Orleans. “I served as a full-time faculty member there for two years, but it was tough to pay the bills on a faculty member’s salary, so I started a private endodontic practice in nearby Metairie, LA.

While he was in Metairie he met his wife, Mary. They enjoyed being a part of the community, and Bill was very involved with organized dentistry. He served as president of the approximate 650 member New Orleans Dental Association in 1989. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Dental Association for several years in the 1980s and 1990s, and he served as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate to the American Dental Association House of Delegates for about twelve years during that same time period. He also became a fellow in the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. Bill enjoyed life in Mary’s hometown of Metairie, but when it came time to retire in 1997, they looked west for newer scenery. Having previously spent time there in the Air Force, they moved to sunny Southern California. While they enjoyed living in their Laguna, California beach home for four years, they longed to move back south, so they travelled across country looking for the perfect landing spot.

They settled on Beaver Lake in Eureka Springs, AR where they have lived since 2001. Bill has been involved with various civic organizations and has enjoyed his retirement, but he misses not getting to see his classmates as often as he would like. “It is beautiful here in Eureka Springs, but it does make it more difficult to get back to Alabama”. “I’ve been blessed to have lived in some great places, and I was blessed to be a part of a great profession. Dentistry and the School of Dentistry will always be special to me,” he said.