Fred Bailey Willard

When I look back on my life, it is so clear to see how the Sovereignty of God led me to New Braunfels.  Toward the end of my military service in the US Army Dental Corps, my attention was focused on choosing a place in Texas to live and practice dentistry.  Although I did not have New Braunfels specifically in mind, like so many others I liked  central Texas. I remembered Dr. Vernon Cook who practiced in San Marcos; when I called him, he told me about Dr. Roger Bolton’s practice on Dittlinger Street in New Braunfels being for sale. Had I been looking at New Braunfels a year earlier, I could not have chosen it as Drs. Don Bedford and Carroll Shelton had both recently opened  practices. When I arrived in New Braunfels,  there were seven general dentists practicing in a town of 14,000 people. They were Drs. Bedford, Bielstein, Browning, Fischer, Lewis, Sacco and Shelton.  We had three dental specialists: Dr. J.D. Larkin, Prosthodontics, and Drs. O.A. Stratemann and Nelson D. Kahler, Orthodontics.  Having grown up in Giddings, a small town ninety miles from here with a strong German influence, the German heritage here was a comfortable fit.  I opened my practice on March 1, 1965, in Comal Town as that area surrounding the hospital was called. In October 1967 I was the first tenant in the Landa Professional Center at 457 Landa Street.  In 2000 I sold my practice to Dr. Horacio Lucero with whom I still work at Mission Hill Dental on Hwy. 46 West and Big Oak.  I have never regretted moving to New Braunfels.  I love the people; I love the place.


In fact, we have been so very blessed to live and work and raise our two sons in New Braunfels.  I am glad to tell others that I live in the “Beauty Spot of Texas” as an original license plate frame on my Model “A” Ford proclaims.  Evidently our forefathers were proud to use that slogan back in the 1930’s and 40’s.


Because I live in New Braunfels and derive my livelihood from the people here, I have always believed that I should give back to my community.  My wife often states that I am the only person she knows who feels he needs to pay for the space he occupies on Earth.  I am keenly aware that there are others in my profession who have felt the same and who deserve this honor  more than I.  I am convinced that Rotary International’s motto of “Service Above Self” is ingrained in my being and really should be in each of us who lives and works in a special community.  We cannot all accomplish the same things, but we can all do a small part to make life better.

In closing, besides dentistry, I would imagine locals will remember me for singing  in community choirs and Barbershop Quartets and choruses.  Some might associate me with old and special interest automobiles.  If I were to choose the two major accomplishments  in which I have been involved, one would be the planting of Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA).  The other is the founding of the New Braunfels Area Car Club Swap Meet and Car Show.  In both, the Lord gave me the vision, but I know neither of these endeavors would have grown and prospered without His leading.  I give Him all the glory for two totally unrelated and unequal activities, one of a totally spiritual nature and the other purely secular. What a wonderful life I have had!