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Longtime optometrist Allen retires
Allen instrumental in shaping town of Farragut, Chamber


After more than two decades of practice in Farragut, optometrist Dr. William Terry Allen removed his eye chart from the wall and officially retired on Tuesday, June 29.

“I’ve almost cried twice today,” he said. “I won’t say goodbye though. Goodbyes are something that I just can’t handle.”


Allen was born in Charleston, S.C. and studied medicine at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. After college, Allen moved to Farragut and decided that “this was the town” for him.

“It had always been a dream of mine to be a doctor, open a practice and really care for the patients,” he said. “It just felt right here in Farragut.”

Allen’s dream came true in 1981 when he opened his own office. Business was slow in the beginning, though. For the first few months, he and his office manager spent more time going over Sunday school lessons than seeing patients.

“I was scared to death at first,” he said. “I think that I saw one or two patients in a two-week time period.”

Allen credits his second office manager, Charlotte Pitts, with turning his business around. “Charlotte was from this area and knew everybody,” he said. “She started telling people where she worked and through word of mouth, my business got going.”

He moved his business from a strip mall on the south side of Kingston Pike to the medical office suite on West End Drive in 1988.

“There wasn’t much out here when I started my practice,” he said. “One of my fondest memories is having business meetings at the doughnut shop with some of the local business owners.” Since Allen was new to the area, these meetings were helpful in getting him established in town.

Allen was a member and later vice president of the first Farragut Chamber of Commerce.

“Bob Leonard got us all together. We had meetings at Farragut High School and really got things going,” he said. The early chamber members drew up the first map of Farragut and designed the emblem for the town.

Leonard said, “That emblem is the one that you see all around Farragut today, and Terry was the one who suggested the sailboat.”

“I’m a sailor,” Allen said. “I begged to have the sailboat put on the emblem.”

Allen is a member of the Concord Yacht Club and he and two team members won a national Silver Fleet title in 2000.

Although still undecided about where he wants to live in the future, Allen says that he now has the luxury of taking his time in making any permanent decisions.

“I feel like I need to be closer to family,” he said. “I know one thing for sure; I am spending the first two weeks with relatives in Charleston.”

Allen sold his practice to a Drs. Milind and Lina Desai, who have worked with Allen for the past 18 months allowing Allen to gradually phase out of his office.

“Milind and Lina are terrific,” he said. “I feel very comfortable leaving the practice in their hands.”

Allen has plans to spend more time sailing and said that he may find an office that needs an optometrist a couple of days a week.

“I do need to work a little and make some money to pay for insurance,” he said.

Michelle Mee, who has been Allen’s optometric assistant for the past eight years said, “It’s going to be a little odd without Dr. Allen. ... It really hasn’t sunk in yet. It will be next week, though, when he’s not here.”

Allen says that the people of Farragut have been an important part of his life. “The people here have been great, like family, and I’m very torn.

“My plan is to finish with my last patient today, set the key on the counter and walk right out the door,” Allen said. “It’s time though and I guess I’m ready.”

 

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