In February, Dr. Keith Ritter received a plaque for being the oldest practicing dentist in Kansas. Now, after 62 years of practicing dentistry in Hoisington, he’s decided that it’s time to retire. The building and equipment have been sold and the office is getting packed up.
Growing up in Horace, Ritter received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Fort Hays State University before attending the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Dentistry. Upon graduation in 1956, he was commissioned into the Air Force as Captain for two years as a general dentist.
In the fall of 1958, Ritter opened his dental office in the old Dave Cooke building on W. First in Hoisington. He moved to his office on W. Seventh in 1966. When the tornado of 2001 destroyed that building, Ritter rebuilt his office on the same location and continued practicing dentistry.
Ritter’s son, Steve, runs Steve’s Car Wash in Hoisington. One of Ritter’s granddaughters, Sarah. is a pharmacist in Great Bend. His other granddaughter, Shelly, is a dental hygienist in Pratt. Ritter’s first wife, Edie, was a dental hygienist working with him since 1958. She passed away in 1998 and he married a patient that had been with him for some time, Becky.
Becky remembers going to Ritter when she was young. When the young patients were good, they would bring out a tray of rings from which she could choose one. She remembers dental visits as being fun visits and Becky became the Office Manager after they were married.
Ritter used to be a pilot and enjoyed flying. He also enjoyed hunting and training dogs for hunting. One of his dogs, Ruddy, was entered into a competition in Omaha, Neb. where he took first place.
Ritter has been associated with quite a list of organizations. He was a member of the American Dental Association, the Kansas State Dental Association, the Central District Dental Society, the Central Kansas Dental Society, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and the American College of Oral Implantology. He has been a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and has been active on the staffs of both Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend and Clara Barton Hospital in Hoisington. He is a past president of the Central District Dental Society, Central Kansas Dental Society, Hoisington School Board, Kiwanis, and Barton County Heart Fund. He also served on the Board of Directors at Hoisington National Bank.
To celebrate the retirement, a trip was planned to Cabo San Lucas; but that has been put on hold until the new virus situation has passed. At this point, Ritter and his wife are planning on staying home.