It seems almost inconceivable, but soon the name Province no longer will be a part of the Johnson County medical scene.
Dr. William Province II plans to retire March 28 after serving 33 years as an internal medicine specialist in Franklin. It also will mean an end to the Province practice after 146 years in Johnson County, including 108 years in downtown Franklin.
The practice, believed to be one of the oldest continuous family practices in Indiana, was started in 1867 by Province’s great-grandfather, William M. Province, in Union Village, which is now Providence. His grandfather, Clarence Province, took over and in 1906 moved the practice to Franklin. Shortly thereafter, he bought the property where the practice currently sits on Main Street. Clarence’s son, William, was the next to take over the practice.
The Tudor-Gothic revival chalet-style building was the only hospital in Johnson County until World War II.
William Province II practiced with his father starting in 1981 until the elder’s retirement and then continued on his own.
Province fondly recalls running errands with his father as a child, but he always knew the trips weren’t going to be quick. Too many people would stop to say hello or offer thanks for medicines to cure digestive issues or breathing difficulties. Those trips planted the seeds for his future. He wanted to become a doctor and the fourth generation leading the Province family practice.
“I wanted a piece of that love and respect,” Province said.
The decision to retire was not easy. “I feel my patients are like family,” Province said. “When they feel pain, I feel the pain. When they lose a dear one, a little bit of my heart breaks also. I try to treat my patients like I would my own family.”
But his medical work will not end. Province is going on a two-year mission trip to Central America with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he will serve as a medical adviser for seven countries. Having studied in Guadalajara, Mexico, he is fluent in Spanish.
“It’s payback time,” Province said. “The people in Johnson County have been very kind to me, but I know there are people elsewhere in the world that need help.”
Dr. Province’s retirement marks the end of a historic medical legacy in Johnson County, one that we imagine few Indiana counties can match.
We wish him well in his missionary work, which seems a fitting capstone to his career.
And the name Province will remain a storied one in county history.