Dr. William Hummer: An Early Calling
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN LEANDRO — Many people find their professional callings in adulthood, but Dr. William Hummer knew much earlier what he wanted to do with his life. “I was 13 years old when I decided I wanted to be a dentist,” he affirms. “Around that time, a lot of my peers were talking about what they wanted to do when they grew up. I had just gotten braces, so I naturally thought of my orthodontist. He had his own business, made his own schedule and earned a nice income; plus, he got to work with his hands and take care of people for a living. It seemed like a good life and career, so I decided to pursue that path and ultimately became a general dentist.”
Today, after more than 30 years of professional practice, Dr. Hummer says his favorite part of his job is the relationships. “As a 13-year-old deciding to become a dentist, I never considered the relational aspects of the job, like interacting with patients. Turns out, that was the best part! I love the fact that I have friends, relatives and neighbors who come to visit me every three to six months. It’s very rewarding to care for someone’s health for their lifetime.”
When Dr. Hummer isn’t caring for patients’ teeth, he can often be found at his second job as a ski patrolman. “I’ve been skiing my entire life, and I was actually a professional ski instructor at the age of 14,” he recounts. “Nowadays, I work for the ski patrol during the winters. We do everything from rescuing trapped and injured skiers to handling avalanche control. Suffice it to say, between dentistry and ski patrol, my winters are pretty busy!” When Dr. Hummer does get some free time, he enjoys traveling the globe with his wife, Bettina, and catching up with his two grown children, Tori and Bryce.
In his life and career, Dr. Hummer espouses the rewards that come with caring for others. “For me, being a dentist, as well as a ski patrolman, is all about taking care of people,” he explains. “When you take care of someone and solve a problem for them, you get paid more in gratitude than you do in money. Whether I’m fixing a patient’s teeth or coming to the rescue of a stranded skier, the gratitude I receive is definitely the most rewarding part.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Dr. Hummer says he’ll continue to be involved with dentistry, even if only in a volunteer capacity. “Right now, my plan is to work as hard as I can from age 55 to 60, work a little less hard from 60 to 65 and work hardly at all from 65 onward. I’ll still come in, talk to patients and do some procedures—at least, the ones that are easy on my back. Even if I don’t get paid, I’m sure I’ll still appreciate the personal rewards of helping others.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Port of Spain.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Polishing shoes in a barbershop at the age of 13.
Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Doing avalanche control with the ski patrol. You’re detonating charges while wearing a concrete suit, and when that wall of snow hits you, it hits surprisingly hard.
Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future. I really believe life is better now than it was 200 years ago, and I think that trend is going to continue as time goes on.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Go skiing.