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Helping bring smiles to 25,000-plus kids
Dr. Marvin Bledsoe stands with his daughter Julia during the open house reception in his honor at Valley Oak Dental. - photo by HIME ROMERO
About a year ago, Cassandra Wood was in dire need of dental work.

The 7-year-old girl was fresh from Romania after being recently adopted by a Tracy couple.

“At the time, she needed a lot of work to her teeth,” said Halie Wood, her adopted mother. “I don’t think she ever saw a dentist (in Romania).”

Dr. Marvin Bledsoe agreed to take Cassandra in as a patient, free of charge.

“After all, we’re family,” he said.

Actually, Halie Wood’s sister, Hannah Vollbrecht, is Bledsoe’s nanny. For the past two years, she’s taken care of his two youngest children, Russell, 10, and Julia, 8.

Vollbrecht was introduced to Bledsoe – or Dr. ‘B,’ as he’s known around the office – by his Valley Oak Dental assistant Rose Marie Medina.

“He needed a nanny and I knew that Hannah worked as nanny,” she said at Dr. Bledsoe’s retirement bash on Wednesday. “I knew it was a perfect fit.”

He saw his young patient for perhaps one last time.

“Are my teeth good?” Cassandra Wood asked.

Bledsoe was thrilled to see the Tracy youngster smile.  From there, she took to playing with Bledsoe’s daughter, Julia.

“(Cassandra) has always enjoyed her visits to the dentist,” Halie Wood said. “She had teeth pulled along with a lot of work.

“She’s never been scared to come here.”

Bledsoe will miss the youngster who attends Bella Vista Christian Academy in Tracy along with many of his other patients from throughout the years.

“It’s also been hard saying goodbye to my staff and the other (Valley Oak) doctors,” he said.

Office manager Donna Griffin calls it the “Valley Oak Family.”

She’s been at the facility for the past 10 years. If a problem arose, Griffin could always turn to Bledsoe.

“He’s been my go-to person (in the office),” she said.
Most of all, Griffin will miss Bledsoe’s generosity and kindness.

“He’s just an all-around nice guy,” she added.

Bledsoe, who attends the Christian Worship Center in Manteca, has a life-after plan in place: He’s been spending the last three years preparing for the ministry.

 “I’ll also have more time with the family,” he said. “At least my time will be consistent.”

Over the years, Bledsoe, who has been practicing at Valley Oak Dental since 1991, reportedly averaged 20 to 30 patients a day, five and six days a week.

During his 35 years of dentistry, he estimated having between 25,000 to 30,000 patients during that span.

“We’re not saying goodbye to him,” said Medina. “We’re saying so long for now.”