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Bledsoe helped 30,000 children smile in his career
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Dr. Marvin Bledsoe is retiring from dentistry practice after three and a half decades. - photo by GLENN KAHL
An open house reception is planned for Dr. Marvin Bledsoe at Valley Oak Dental offices on West Yosemite Avenue at Trevino Avenue on Saturday, July 28, from 4 until 7 p.m.

“Children:  They listen to you and they are very responsive, fun and comical.  There’s never a dull day with children – always exciting,” retiring pediatric dentist Dr. Bledsoe said of his 35 years in dentistry.  

Bledsoe has devoted his career to youngsters in the Bay Area and in the Central Valley.

“I do believe children are the future of America and the future of the world.  Children are our big investment in the world.  We’ve gotta go back to old values:  nothing beats hard work and patients – that’s what it is going to take,” he said.

He has special memories of his young patients who often stayed with him through high school.

“Wow! You put that tooth to sleep,” he remembers one youngster saying after demonstrating a great deal of anxiety as he climbed into the dentist’s chair.  Bledsoe said the child was about four years old and didn’t want anything done in his mouth.

When he was through the boy was quick to tell his parents that nothing hurt, not even the shot.  Bledsoe said it was always a plus to see a child respond with a smile and leave the office saying everything is ok.

He said he is looking forward to seeing a lot of his patients at the reception, noting that he usually saw 20 to 30 a day, five and six days a week – an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 in his career.   “I see a lot of my patients in the grocery stores, in the malls and in the restaurants as well as when I go to McDonalds,” he said.  In addition now the children he saw years ago have been bringing their children to him.

19 years spent practicing in Manteca
While practicing for some 19 years in Manteca, he formerly was in private practice and worked as an associate in Oakland.  Bledsoe came to Manteca’s Valley Oak Dental on April 21, of 1991. “Manteca has been a good choice for me moving here and I love the community – it has been good.  God saved me through the tough time and I have stayed as stable as possible for the kids,” he said referring to the unexpected death of both of his wives.

Dr. Bledsoe is committed to his two children Russell, 10, and Julia, 8, and to the Christian Worship Center on Button Avenue in Manteca. He works with Bishop Steve Perea whose tenet is changing the lives of his flock “one person at a time.”

At the young age of 10, son Russell tells his dad he wants to be an astrophysicist. They both spend time going to the planetarium at Delta College.  “He loves to get involved with astronomy,” Bledsoe remarked.

Daughter Julia works with her brother challenging him on hand held games in business and about home life in terms of how to spend money – computerized games involving car notes and mortgages.  “She is obviously leaning toward the business side,” he said.

“I’m trying to teach them what they see going on in life right now is not normal and it is not what it was intended to be,” Bledsoe added.  They are members of a youth group at church and spend much of their time with video presentations, he said.

Like many successful people in life, Bledsoe’s teachers from first grade through college made their own impact on the longtime Manteca dentist.

Teachers make big impact on his life
The youngest of three children he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee.  He remembers his first grade teacher, a Mrs. Cole, as being very principled and strict.  “She was very good at explaining things to you in the first grade – she made me enjoy school,” he said.

Two other teachers impacted his life.  Mr. Roach was his biology teacher in high school in the ninth grade.  “He really got me interested in the sciences and encouraged me to go to a summer science program one summer – he was inspirational and the high school football coach as well.”

Bledsoe said his biology teacher was on the cutting edge of biological sciences, adding that he was a big inspiration for him to go into dentistry.  

In high school he played football taking the position of defensive half back that would become known as the corner back.  His team won two city championships during that four year period.  

Another teacher he felt really made a difference in his developing life was O.T. Peeples who taught American History.  “He was one individual who was very much into the subject and made me involve into American History.  He gave me a good love for the country at that time.  He gave a lot of life to history – put a lot of life into it,” he said.

At the age of 10, Dr. Bledsoe went to a dentist named Theroen Northcross.  “He had a lot of influence on me going into dentistry.  We chatted a lot and I stayed with him all the way through high school,” he said.  

Dr. Bledsoe is currently spending a lot of time with his children often taking them to the park and to the movies.  He chuckled when he noted he has seen more children’s movies than he thought was possible.  He proudly admitted they are both exceptional students at their elementary school.