Doctor’s retirement marks end of family practice

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) - Over more than three decades, a Franklin doctor learned having a tab at a local pharmacy was a necessity.

A couple of years ago, on a Friday afternoon, Dr. William Province II saw an elderly man who was having trouble breathing and knew he needed an antibiotic. But the man was not going to have the money to buy it before the weekend, so Province picked up the phone and called the local pharmacy.

He had the cost of the medicine billed to him, and the man went home with the antibiotic he needed to get better.

Province’s staff said the gesture is not uncommon for the doctor. For years, Province has leaned over to kiss the forehead of numerous 80-plus-year-old women. He’s made jokes with patients to ease tense situations. He’s cried with others after receiving bad news and held their hands as they prayed together.

“I feel my patients are like family,” Province told the Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/1f1p0La ). “When they feel pain, I feel the pain. When they lose a dear one, a little bit of my heart breaks also. I try to treat my patients like I would my own family.”

After 33 years as a doctor specializing in internal medicine, Province will retire March 28.

The Province practice will come to an end after 146 years in Johnson County, 108 years at its current location at 100 N. Main St. in downtown Franklin. Thousands of patients have walked through the doors of the Province practice, believed to be one of the oldest in the state.

The Tudor-Gothic revival chalet-style building was the only hospital in Johnson County until World War II.

Province is going on a two-year mission trip to Central America with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he will serve as a medical adviser for seven countries.

His patients, some who have seen him for more than 30 years, will need to find a new doctor.

Province’s great-grandfather, William M. Province, started the practice in 1867 in Union Village, which is now Providence. His grandfather, Clarence Province, took over and in 1906 bought the property where the practice currently sits on Main Street.

The site used to be owned by a blacksmith. His father, William, was the next to take over the practice. Province’s son is finishing his residency at Johns Hopkins University but does not plan to return to Indiana.

Province fondly recalls running errands with his father as a child, but he always knew the trips weren’t going to be quick. Too many people would stop to say hello or offer thanks for medicines to cure digestive issues or breathing difficulties.

Those trips planted the seeds for his future. He wanted to become a doctor and the fourth generation leading the Province family practice.

“I wanted a piece of that love and respect,” Province said.

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