Glen Arbor’s Doc Houghton retires

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From staff reports

Patients of Glen Arbor physician Matthew Houghton received the sad news last week that “Doc” Houghton is closing his practice, effective March 10 — “due to sudden personal health changes on March 1,” Houghton wrote in a recent letter to patients. He added that longtime assistants Vicki and Marion will be at the office to help with your record release for the next six months, on a limited basis.

“I would like to thank you for the trust you have given me over the past 40 plus years as your physician,” wrote Houghton. “Caring for you and your family has been an honor for both my staff and myself. … It has been an honor to serve you and this wonderful community, and I thank you deeply. I wish you all good health and happiness.”

The letter encouraged patients to continue with appropriate medical care, urging them to establish contact with another physician as soon as possible and offering the Patient Referral number at Munson Medical Center, (1-800-533-5520).

Houghton moved his practice to the Glen Arbor Medical Arts building 15 years ago after 28 years in Empire.

The June 9, 1999 edition of the Glen Arbor Sun ran a front-page feature story written by Jenny Robertson and titled “Glen Arbor gets a ‘Doc’!”, which welcomed Houghton’s arrival in Glen Arbor.

Here’s an excerpt (and read the full story here):

As a small-town doctor, Houghton has seen things few hospital-based physicians will ever see. For instance, he’s treated dogs, addressing everything from porcupine quills and hurt paws to possible poisoning. He also delivered a two-weeks premature baby in his Empire office. Because her labor arrived ahead of schedule, the mother was just coming in for a checkup. By the time she got to the office, the baby’s head was already visible, and Doc Houghton’s assistant Dave Graddup, now of the North Flight Ground Division, barely had time to run to the hardware store for big plastic tubs and blankets before a beautiful health baby was born. Mother and child never went to the hospital.

“We basically have two practices here; one as a mini-emergency ward, one as a family practice,” Houghton says. These are, however, definitely not the only two services Houghton supplies to the community. Houghton has been the medical examiner for Leelanau County since 1975, and has recently taken on this responsibility for Grand Traverse County as well. “I see this really as being a guardian of the public health,” he says. “My job is to make sure that the cause of death isn’t something that could put the entire community at risk.” He has been the medical consultant for Glen Lake High School sports teams for 26 years, and has great memories of traveling to state championships with the teams. Houghton’s practice also services as a training facility for medical students, from first-year students to recent graduates from the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State.