MONROE, Mich. – After practicing for 65 years, Dr. John Burroughs of Monroe is retiring at 93 years old.
Dr. Burroughs started his career as a physician in 1954 in his hometown of Monroe. In 1957, he started practicing with his father-in-law.
“In those days house calls were five dollars and office calls were three dollars. It’s been 65 years, ’54 to present, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Burroughs said.
He enjoyed his career so much that he never saw himself retiring.
"I told all my patients that I would never retire voluntarily, and this is totally involuntary. I just ran out of gas," said Burroughs.
Burroughs said work started becoming a challenge, and with winter coming, he was worried about the possibility of falling on icy sidewalks.
"[I started getting] shortness of breath, fatigue, and I just figured it's time. It was just getting too tough to get back and forth to the office," said Burroughs.
He's considered the most 'veteran' physician in the state.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield tells me I’m the oldest practicing physician in the state, well, I was,” he said.
Dr. Burroughs had plenty of patients who went to him for care over the years.
"Some of them have been coming to me for well over 50 years and I do consider them more friends than patients. They [the patients] too, had mixed emotions. They didn't want to see me go, so they claim, but they understood," he said.
Burroughs grew up in the city of Monroe and raised a family there as well.
"Here in town, they affectionately or otherwise call me 'The Legend.' It must be based on longevity, more than anything else. They say don't practice in your hometown because like Rodney Dangerfield, you don't get no respect, well, it's paid off. I don't regret it," he said.
The doctor has delivered babies and conducted several surgeries over the course of his career, but the majority of the time, he was a general practitioner.
"I always enjoyed the surgical end frankly, and there was a time when we had to cover our own emergency rooms," he said.
It was a difficult decision for Burroughs to retire.
"People say what are you gonna do? I don't have any hobbies. I used to play a lot of sports, but as I would put it, I was good at everything, but not great at anything," he said through laughter.
Dr. Burroughs is a family man who cherishes the time he spends with his loved ones. He has four children who live nearby, but his beloved wife, Patricia, passed away.
"We were married for 65 years. She was the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect grandmother. It's very hard to talk about," he said through tears.
He now enjoys eating out at his favorite restaurants like Angelo's Chop House in Monroe.
"I love to go out to eat. I go out to eat every night," he said.
He said the key to his longevity is his 'genes.'
"Both of my parents lived to be 98 years old, and neither one died of anything. They just ran out of gas," he said.
To ease into retirement, Doctor Burroughs started shortening the amount of days he worked in the office. He went from five days a week to three. He stopped seeing patients in October, but his office is remaining open until the end of November to allow patients to pick up their files.
The doctor said he had a great staff throughout the years and his staff said he has been ‘the best boss.’
The doctor joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, and later, pursued his career in the medical field.