Dr. Jon Hallie (left) has taken over Dr. Robert Larson’s dental practice in Roseau, Minn. Larson is a former resident of Kennedy, Minn. Hallie’s new practice is called Hallie Family Dentistry and is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Enterprise Photo by Linda Andersen)
By Linda Andersen
Not only do Dr. Robert Larson and Dr. Jon Hallie both have ties to Kittson County, but they are also both left-handed – but, more about the latter later.
Dr. Larson, who grew up in Kennedy and graduated from Kennedy High School in 1968, recently sold his dental clinic in Roseau to Dr. Hallie. Dr. Hallie had been practicing dentistry with Drs. Ed and Jane Gracza at their clinics in Karlstad and Roseau.
Dr. Larson, the son of the late Loyal and Gunda Larson of Kennedy, has fond memories of his hometown. He started school at Kennedy in 1956. “It was gorgeous,” he says of the building, which was new at that time. He admits that it is hard to look at the now empty school.
He also has good memories of moving into the new Maria Lutheran Church building in 1967.
He remembers coach and principal Louis C. Deere as an “excellent teacher” who gave him a “great start in the sciences.”
“Kennedy was busy,” he says of the town during his growing up years. Classes at the school had 25 to 30 students every year.
“Businessmen were progressive,” he adds, mentioning that his dad was in business selling farm chemicals, grain augers, and sporting goods.
Following high school, Larson graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead and in 1975 from the University of Minnesota Dental School. He then served as a captain in the Air Force for two years.
He began practicing dentistry in Roseau in 1977. He had various partners over the years, but had been on his own for the last 25 years.
The Roseau flood off 2002 brought him trouble and change. He lost his equipment and his building was condemned. He had a new building constructed at the present location, near the intersection of Highways 89 and 11, and moved into it in 2003.
What has Dr. Larson enjoyed about his career in dentistry? “The satisfaction with helping people solve dental problems and maintain their health,” he says.
How has dentistry changed over the years? Larson mentions the integrating of computers into the business and also says that the materials are better. The biggest change, however, is that parents do a better job now with caring for their children’s dental health. “Children’s dental problems have gone way down,” he says.
What are the doctor’s plans for retirement? “Stay in Roseau,” he says, mentioning that he and his wife, Joyce, raised three sons in the community. “It’s a really nice community. I can’t imagine living elsewhere.”
A 2007 graduate of Roseau High School, Dr. Jon Hallie received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a major in biology and double minors in chemistry and business administration. In May of 2015 he graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in Minneapolis. He mentions that he was happy to get into the school of dentistry immediately after undergraduate school, saying that dentistry is a “competitive field to get into.”
Dentistry runs a bit in his family, as his older brother is a dentist in Grand Rapids. What really got Hallie interested in the field, however, was working as a dental lab technician making crowns and bridges during his undergraduate years in Duluth. He describes the job as “really fun work,” and says it made him realize, “I think this is the right field for me.”
He says his first day of work with the Graczas was June 16, 2015. and he was with them until his recent purchase of Dr. Larson’s practice. As a left-hander, Hallie is grateful that Larson was also left-handed and, consequently, things in the office were built to be used by a left-handed dentist.
What does Hallie enjoy about dentistry? “The impact it has on a person’s life,” he responds, adding that the “biggest enjoyment” is “relieving pain” for patients.
Does Hallie have any changes in mind for the business? He’ll give the office a “facelift” with a new coat of paint and “go digital with equipment,” he says.
Hallie Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.