A profile from the Aitkin Independent Age in Kansas:
He’s a dentist, a scuba diver, a writer and a church deacon. On Dec. 31, Dr. Bill Stein will retire from one of those occupations. Since he began his dental practice in Aitkin in 1973, he said he’s performed at least 7,000 root canals and more tooth extractions than he can count. And that’s enough, he said. His practice was solo until 2007, when he was joined part-time by Dr. Sean Fleming, who was also practicing in Pillager. In 2013, Stein sold the practice to Fleming. Stein continued to work, with the last two years being half-time. He listed his best and least-liked parts of the work: Best was getting people out of pain and restoring smiles; and least: having to run a business with all the laws, taxes and everything that goes with it. Most gratifying, Stein said, was finding cancer in patients early enough that it could be treated successfully. …Involved with the mission group called Project Haiti, the Steins helped start the first dental clinic in Pignon, Haiti. After a couple years going there, they started a dental clinic at a Catholic hospital in Milot, Haiti, through the group Haiti Outreach, which they did for several years. “We found Fr. Glen Meaux in Kobonal. He was running a couple schools with 2,000 children,” Stein said. “We helped set up a dental clinic in 1999 and we went there until 2012.” “We treasure our experiences there and encourage all readers to find a mission for their lives,” he said. Stein completed a six-year journey to become a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church, and was ordained Nov. 26, 2006. He joined two other deacons (Vern Anderson and Roger Marks) in the cluster of churches including St. James in Aitkin, Our Lady of Fatima in Garrison and Holy Family at Bulldog Lake in Hillman. In retirement, he said he will have more time for his work as a deacon at St. James. That means more time to assist the father at Mass, to preach the Gospel once a month or so, visit the sick and officiate at wakes, weddings and baptisms.