He’s seen it all

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 26, 2010

In his 35-year career, Dr. Bill Davidson has “seen” it all, but on Thursday, his patients saw the last of him professionally as he closed his office permanently.

Davidson has served Andalusia and Covington County as an optometrist since June 10, 1975, when he opened his practice next to the old Piggly Wiggly building near Regions Bank. From there, it was on to a location on U.S. Hwy. 29, then to the Westgate Plaza.

He had an early start in the area of optometry, he said.

“I’ve worn glasses since I was 18 months old, and I have always had a fascination with the eye and how it works,” Davidson said. “It kind of grew from there.”

He said he eventually earned a master’s degree in biochemistry and child development and was led into medical school in Birmingham.

“We used to have to go to classes in the basement because when I started the program, it was so new there really wasn’t a space for us,” he said.

However, it was easy for him to find space locally to begin his new practice.

“I had been working at Grady Hospital in Atlanta when I heard from Dr. Christokls, who had a practice here,” he said. “For me, Andalusia was a good fit, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Retirement, it seems, has been forced on Davidson. A recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and the medicine it takes to treat the disease has taken a toll on him, he said.

“I hate to give it up,” he said. “I love my patients, my practice, ‘the girls’ that work for me. I’ve always prided myself on being available 24/7 for whatever my patients needed. It’s been hard lately. I’ve worked this past month just so my ‘girls’ could get two more paychecks.”

Davidson said he is currently in negotiations with “a kid who’s coming to look at the practice” to keep the practice going.

“I say kid, he’s from (Andalusia) and compared to me, he is a kid,” he said.

Gladys Trawick said it will be different using another doctor besides Davidson. She was one of Davidson’s first patients.

“That man has been a jewel to me – an absolute jewel,” she said. “He’s been everything to me, been available even on a Saturday when I had an emergency. I’m going to miss him so much.”

Davidson’s “girls” – Evelyn King and Wanda Little – both said they hate to see him retire. King is a 29-year employee with the practice; Little, 10 years.

“He is a wonderful man,” King said. “Absolutely wonderful. He will be greatly missed.”

But, while he may not be writing out prescriptions for new eyeglasses or dispensing eye drops, Davidson said he’ll still “be around.”

“My boys have built me a greenhouse,” he said. “I can’t wait to get out there. I’ll be walking around the nature trail at LBW if I can, just enjoying the life God has given me.

“Plus, I’ve got a 2-year-old granddaughter who’s sure to keep things lively,” he said.