Dr. John Stephenson in St. Ignace is getting ready to retire at the end of the month after a 56-year medical career.
Dr. Stephenson is a proud Michigan Wolverine; right after graduation, he enlisted in the Vietnam War as an Air Force flight surgeon.
“They gave me a bunch of literature, I read it over, and I thought, this really sounds neat because I would be flying with pilots, and I could get a private pilot’s license,” said Dr. John Stephenson, Medical Director at Evergreen Living Center.
After serving, Stephen was an emergency room doctor downstate, then found his way to Mackinac Island.
“I like being in a rural area. It’s less hustle and bustle. There’s less traffic. People, I think, in rural areas are a lot friendlier and they help each other,” said Stephenson. “I used to make house calls on a snowmobile in the winter.”
The last 22 years of his career have been with the Mackinac Straits Health System in St. Ignace.
“I’ve been a medical director of our 50-bed nursing home for about ten years. I like to see all of the residents as my friend. I’m their doctor, and they’ll talk to me about anything, and I’ll talk to them about anything,” explained Stephenson. “I try and let them have as much freedom as they can.”
After being in the medical field for over five decades, doctor Stephenson says barely anything has stayed the same.
“It’s much less personal, and I don’t see that as good. It’s more specialized. I kid, and I say, well, you know, in 20 years, there will be a specialist in the left foot. Another thing is there’s the technology has just really blossomed. There’s so much more that we can do,” said Stephenson.
As doctor Stephenson hangs up his white coat and starts a new chapter, he just plans on doing what matters most to him.
“I will be enjoying my hobbies, my family, my wife. We’re going to stay home,” said Stephenson.