Optometrist retires after 39 years in G.C.

1/4/2011

Bowling known for commitment to patients, community.

Bowling known for commitment to patients, community.

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Dr. Randall Bowling said if he could do it all over again, he'd choose the same profession.

"It's absolutely, truly, one of the most satisfying things in my life — helping people with their vision," he said.

On Friday, Bowling retired from Garden City Optometrists after working there for 39 years. He's moving today with his wife, Linda, to Fayetteville, Ark.

Bowling said he'll miss the friendships and professional bonds he's made over the course of his career.

Bowling, a Garden City native, said he would be back to the area for visits with friends and colleagues.

"This is where I grew up. I'll miss the longtime, old family friends. Those friendships have lasted decades. That's what I'll miss the most," he said.

Bowling grew up in Garden City, attending first Garden City Community College, then the University of Kansas. He finished his education at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. In 1971, he returned to the area and began work at what is now Garden City Optometrists, 707 E. Kansas Plaza. The optometry clinic began in Garden City in 1916, and took the name of the respective doctors. The name was changed to Garden City Optometrists to simplify things, Bowling said.

Over the course of his career, Bowling found optometry to be a fulfilling profession.

"I liked having the satisfaction of providing a vision service for people who could benefit," he said.

Bowling said helping his patients was his priority.

"I wanted people to be better off when they left our office than when they came in," he said.

He said what he'd miss the most about his career is taking care of his patients.

After practicing so long in Garden City, Bowling had some fourth generation patients.

"That's what nearly four decades will do," he said.

Bowling's interest in optometry began in high school, when as a teenager he was fascinated with his contact lens fitting.

"I decided I would like to do that and geared my college classes around preparing me for optometry school," he said.

Dr. Robert Hoch, a Garden City Optometry associate, worked with Bowling for 30 years.

"It was very enjoyable. He was very organized and very caring with patients. He was concerned with the best care that he could provide the patients. He wanted the clinic to run as smooth as possible. We worked well together," Hoch said.

Bowling said he and his wife plan to complete their "bucket list," which includes traveling to New York City, the Grand Canyon and going on a cruise. The Bowlings also will live closer to their families in Arkansas.

The Bowlings have a son, Brock, 36, who works as a sports broadcaster for ING Worldwide Sports and lives in North Carolina.

In their move to Arkansas, the Bowlings leave behind community service and involvement in Garden City.

Bowling served on the Red Cross board, was involved in the Garden City Noon Lions, was on Garden City Community College Endowment Association's Board of Directors and served as a GCCC trustee for nine years.

Both Bowling and his father attended GCCC.

"There's a special place in my heart for Garden City Community College," he said.

Linda was active in Garden City Community Theater, Monday Club, Bells of St. Catherine and PEO.

Bowling said he'll miss being active in the Garden City organizations.

"It was an honor being able to be involved in this community," he said.

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