Photo by Johnny Jackson
Three generations of dentists include (clockwise from, left) Dr. Benjamin Allen Taylor Jr., 53, Dr. Benjamin James Taylor, 26, and Dr. Benjamin Allen Taylor Sr., 82. The eldest Taylor retired in January, and the youngest graduated from dental school May 10.
JONESBORO — Life has been on the fast track for Dr. Benjamin James Taylor lately.
Taylor, 26, recently earned a medical degree in dentistry. And today he gets married to his medical school sweetheart, Dr. Kelly Baker.
He returned this week to familiar surroundings — his grandfather’s dentist office in Jonesboro. His grandfather, Dr. Benjamin Allen Taylor Sr., 82, retired from the practice in January. Taylor’s uncle, Dr. Benjamin Allen Taylor Jr., now operates the establishment where Taylor fondly remembers his childhood.
They keep a photograph of him hanging on the wall in the office. Taylor is a toddler propped on the bathroom sink preparing to brush his teeth. His smile, over the years, has not changed.
The third generation Taylor graduated May 10 from the Medical College of Georgia Dental School, also known as Georgia Regents University, where he met his bride.
Taylor is a 2005 graduate of Union Grove High School and a 2009 graduate of Mercer University. He credited his grandfather and his uncle, Dr. Benjamin Allen Taylor Jr., 53, as positive influences that inspired him to pursue dentistry.
His uncle also grew up watching his father grow his small practice. He is a 1978 graduate of Jonesboro High School. He graduated MCG in 1986, after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia.
The family’s eldest dentist attended Lanier High School in Macon. He graduated Mercer University in 1951 and Emory University in 1956.
“I was very fond of my local dentist Dr. Timothy Harden,” said Taylor Sr. “And Dr. C.A. Yarbrough, he gave me a recommendation when I applied to dental school.”
Taylor Sr. served two years in the Army before opening his practice in 1958.
“It was a real country town then,” he said. “There was one dentist in town and he retired two years after I came.”
His grandson promises to follow a similar path.
Taylor leaves June 5 for Army officer’s training before leaving July 9 for Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Wash., where he will be stationed for the next year. He earned a scholarship to be a military dentist and will spend a year in residency. He plans to serve an additional four years service as a captain in the Army.
His grandfather said he was confident in Taylor’s abilities but warned that this new phase in his life will have its challenges.
“Be willing to work hard,” said Taylor Sr. “It’s not easy. He’s had eight years of hard work but it doesn’t get any easier.”
Taylor Sr. said hard work is how he has been able to sustain his dental practice and retain generations of patients.
Ellen Austin of McDonough and has been a patient since the 1960s. Her adult children are patients there too.
“He was so good,” she said. “I just love them. They’re so nice and easy-going. They really are a good Christian family.”