ROCKFORD — Outside of a pastor and a doctor, not many professions allow an individual to become an integral part of a family from the birth of a child to adulthood.
It’s a privilege that William Hutt, a pediatrician at Mercyhealth in Rockford, said he never took for granted in his 38 years of practice.
Thursday, the 71-year-old physician donned a lab coat and stethoscope for the last time as he treated and then invited patients and their families to join him and his family and colleagues at a retirement party at the Mercyhealth Mulford clinic, 5970 Churchview Drive. The well-wishers were treated to a large sheet cake and sugar cookies shaped liked Mickey Mouse, the good doc’s favorite cartoon character.
In addition to the treats, patients were invited into a separate room where a collection of Hutt’s Mickey Mouse memorabilia was on display. Hutt asked the patients to take their favorite item home with them.”
“I hope they take all of it,” he said of the collection of stuffed toys. “I don’t want to have to take all of this home.”
Hutt departed with handshakes, hugs and fond memories.
Before the party and in between patient visits, he reflected on his long career.
“It’s always been very touching for me when people bring their children to me after I’ve been their doctor,” Hutt said. “It’s special when people trust you that much.”
Thursday, Rockford resident Jean Marshall brought her 5-year-old great-grandson, Markhyi Marshall, to the clinic to receive a physical from Hutt, the same doctor who treated her five children and numerous grandchildren and other great-grandchildren.
“He’s patient, loving, caring and you always leave satisfied knowing what to do and how to do it,” she said.
Rockford has many pediatricians, but Marshall said Hutt has always been there for her family.
“I’ve never had to cancel or anything because he was too busy,” she said.
Another great-grandson, Courvoisier Marshall, 19, of Rockford, is one of Hutt’s many former patients. He accompanied his great-grandmother and Markhyi to the clinic.
“He knew when my grades were bad, and he knew when my grades were good,” Courvoisier Marshall said of Hutt. “He is a part of the family as much as anyone.”
Jane Dainty, 27, of Rockford, another multi-generational patient, brought her 4-year-old daughter, India, to wish Hutt well in his retirement.
“We love him. He’s down to earth,” she said.
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