The Way I See It: Dr. Harlan Raley ’51
Dr. Harlan Raley ’51 graduated from Texas A&M College of Dentistry’s predecessor, Baylor University College of Dentistry, as part of an exceptionally close-knit class composed of many World War II veterans. Raley served with the Navy in the South Pacific.
Flying has been his avocation; he was a member of the Flying Dentists for 30 years. This general dentist is still practicing after nearly 68 years and has no plans to retire. He enjoys his patients and the friendly, compassionate atmosphere created by his office staff as they strive to deliver the best possible dental care.
What’s the best thing about your dental career?
I find dentistry is constantly changing, so it has been a continued learning experience. Being a member of the Flying Dentists Association has been a special way to meet other dentists, see the country and pick up continuing education credit.
It didn’t take me long to discover that I had a lot of youngsters in my practice that were in need of orthodontia, but the nearest orthodontists were 75 miles away. I found a wonderful group of doctors in New York City to mentor me and help me get started in orthodontics. It has been a successful and satisfying part of my practice, and I have really enjoyed working with these young patients.
How did you start out in practice?
When I graduated from dental school in 1951, I had no idea where I wanted to practice, but I came home to Dublin, Texas, to wait for news that I passed the state board exam. The local dentist explained that he was having domestic problems and asked if I would be interested in buying his practice. He was in a newly built dental building with two rooms of equipment and an experienced dental assistant, so to me it seemed a no-brainer. I started my practice in November 1951.
As my practice grew, I brought in two other “Baylor” graduates just as they finished dental school, and they both went on to establish successful practices on their own.
What is the best part of your life these days?
My wife and I married in 1955 and have had a wonderful life together. We love this area because we are within easy driving and flying distance of Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio.
We enjoy traveling and have made several great trips to Europe. One of our most fascinating trips was to China and the Great Wall with a group of Flying Longhorns. We also enjoy trying gourmet food, gardening, reading, museums, volunteering and time spent with a loving family.