Dr. Joe Smith

After a lengthy career devoted to caring for others, Dr. Joe Smith is poised to begin a new chapter—retirement. His decision is not without mixed emotions; while he eagerly anticipates the adventures ahead, the thought of not seeing the patients he has come to know over the years tugs at his heartstrings.

His patients have been more than just cases; they’ve been stories, individuals he has come to know and cherish, as he shared, “I just like people. I’m definitely going to miss seeing them, learning about them, and getting to know them. I’ll miss them a lot.”

As Dr. Smith enters retirement, he is not short of plans. From attending concerts to pursuing his passion for fossil hunting through planned digs, he is ready to immerse himself in a range of experiences. He also revealed his plans to serve a mission with his wife for their church and do a lot of fishing.

Reflecting on his journey, Dr. Smith traced his roots from California, meeting his wife in Belgium. His medical journey led him to the University of Utah for medical school and the University of Tennessee-Memphis for his residency. He then spent eight years in rural Utah before moving to Nauvoo in 1999.

The decision to come to Quincy Medical Group was influenced by a postcard. It caught his attention, promising riverfront living, a loan repayment program, and “unlimited happiness.” Dr. Smith recalled with a laugh, “If they’re bold enough to say unlimited happiness as part of their package, I’m going to check them out.”

The promise didn’t disappoint. Upon arriving to the area, Dr. Smith was struck by the kindness and friendliness of the people he encountered. Recalling his initial visits here, he shared, “I just felt so good there, and so did my wife. I loved the people I interviewed with, and the rest is history.”

Dr. Smith’s journey into medicine wasn’t without its challenges. Self-consciousness initially held him back, but aptitude testing and encouragement from his wife propelled him toward medical school.

“It’s two days of testing and they test all kinds of things with weird patterns and weird associations. They sat me down in the exit interview after the testing and said ‘you can do anything you want to do. You are able to do anything you choose to do.’ Which is really true of everyone, but I believed them,” he said.

As Dr. Smith reflects on his career, he emphasizes the profound impact his patients have had on him.

“I just love them so much and I love to learn about them and engage with them. If anything, that has kept me inspired, it’s the desire to do right by them when I can,” he shared. “I always felt like the patients’ time is at least as valuable as my time.”

As Dr. Smith bids farewell, he leaves behind a legacy of compassion and a commitment to putting patients first. His advice to fellow physicians echoes the wisdom instilled by his wife — to make every patient feel like the most important one of the day, a principle he has tried to embrace throughout his career.