Last week my friend Sharon drove out to the Dorothy Page Museum in Wasilla, Alaska and sent me these pictures. Within that museum is a recreation of my grandfather’s dental office. I didn’t actually have any pictures of this installment so it was a great thrill to receive these pictures.
Dr Lee L. McKinley
This re-creation of Dr. McKinley’s dental office in Butte is dedicated to his efforts in pioneering “Bush” dentistry and his selfless commitment to the people of Alaska.
For over 40 years “The Flying Dentist” faithfully practiced his profession throughout the entire state serving people from all walks of life. It has been said that Dr. McKinley would often render services free of charge for those who’s circumstances called upon his generosity.
In the early 1950’s, he was also instrumental in adopting legislation that limited the power of the State Dental Board thus allowing more dentists to practice in Alaska.
As a youth, Lee McKinley was one of four sons of an Arkansas meat peddler. It was his fathers faithful devotion to good will and hard work that would eventually create a solid foundation in each boy. Individually the boys sought public service in the fields of dentistry and medicine. All four have become professionals in their respective fields.
From this early beginning, Lee McKinley entered college on probation as he was without a high school diploma. Undaunted by the work that lay ahead, he pressed on to graduate and practice dentistry in Detroit in 1934.
By the mid-forties, Dr. McKinley and family became disenchanged with the city life. With his son Blake and another youngster, Dr. McKinley loaded up a Hudson pickup and started out for Alaska.
Thus began the illustrious service of Dr. Lee McKinley in Alaska.
We are honored to create a tribute to such a fine man that gave so much of himself to the people of Alaska.
(A complete history of Dr. McKinley is available through narrative and video tape in the museum archives)
And here’s a bonus photo of the Matanuska Valley from Wasilla
A little more about Grandpa: