dr martens serena boot Mark Stewart makes good on fortune
Mark Stewart, DDS, has been practicing out of his North 21st Street office since 1993.(Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)Buy PhotoNEWARK The year was 1984. Mark Stewart had just graduated from dental school. He knew he wanted to practice in Newark. He just didn’t know how to make that happen. So he came up with an unlikely, spur of the moment plan.
“When I was here one weekend I was downtown and they had phone booths back then,” he recalled. “I grabbed the yellow pages and I grabbed the page of dentists. There were 20 some dentists in there and I sent out resumes to everybody.”
“Only one responded,” he added, “and that was Bill Myers, who was 76 years old. He was ready to hang it up and I was ready to get started.”
So began the dental practice of Dr. Mark Stewart.
“It was just one of those things,” he said. “It was serendipitous the way it worked out the way it did.”
Stewart, now 59, grew up in Washington Courthouse in Fayette County.
“When I was a kid I always had an interest in anatomy and the sciences,” he remembered. “And I happened to like our family dentist. He was kind of the inspiration to get me going in this direction. So I put the blinders on and never strayed from that decision. I was in high school when I made the decision that’s what I wanted to do.”
He graduated from Washington High School in 1976, Miami University in 1980 and finally the OSU College of Dentistry.
Buy PhotoMark Stewart, center, DDS, with hygienists Ginger O’Reilly,
left, and Cindi Barber in one of the exam rooms at the dental practices North 21st Street location. (Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)
Then came Newark. His first office (Myers’ old office) was at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Fairfield. He soon hired a dental hygienist named Missy Link. They’ve now worked together 31 years.
“It’s gone fast,” Link said. “We’ve been through a lot together. We were both single when we started, we both got married, had children and by now we’ve easily seen three generations of patients.”
“He was in my wedding,” she added. “He’s very much like my brother. You don’t come across that very often.”
A year later Stewart hired Ginger O’Reilly, another dental hygienist.
“Thirty years sounds like a long time to be someplace but I couldn’t have picked a better place,” she said. “I think it’s kind of unique for all of us to be together so long.”
Like her long time friend and fellow hygienist, O’Reilly added, “He is like my older brother. We’ve grown up together. We’re a real family here.”
“I look at these gals,” Stewart responded, “not as employees but as true friends. We’ve spent half our lives together.”
In 1992, Stewart bought an abandoned building at a sheriff’s sale on North 21st Street. Before that, it was the site of several different restaurants. He’s been there since 1993.
“It’s been a very stimulating profession,” he summarized. “It’s never boring. I haven’t had one day out of 33 years that’s been the same as any other day.”
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary.