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Community & Public Service

Dr. John Regan


Dr. John Regan has enjoyed an illustrious career practicing dentistry in our community. Important as he has been to many thousands of his patients, that will not be the only way he is remembered. For more than a half-century, John Regan, DDS, has promoted excellence in dentistry at the state, national, and international levels, while working tirelessly to improve the quality life for everyone in Huntington County.

Dr. Regan is a native of Ripon, Wis. His family moved to the central Indiana hamlet of Cambridge City when he was just five years old. His entrepreneurial spirit was on display early; he opened an ice cream stand in front of the family home when he was just 12 years old, and operated it for four summers, while also handling a newspaper route. He was a strong student and went on to Indiana University after graduating from Cambridge City Lincoln High School in 1954. He was admitted to IU’s Dental School in Indianapolis in 1957.

In Bloomington, John met Delene Anne Smith, a student from Huntington. They were married at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in June 1958. When he received his Doctor of Dentistry degree in 1961, the Regans moved to Huntington, where he established his general dentistry practice at 650 Cherry Street. That was to be his office for the next 59 years — except for two years when he served as a member of the Dental Corps at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., after being drafted into the Army.

Throughout decades of dental practice, Dr. Regan was extremely active in both community and professional affairs.

He was one of four local leaders who, in the mid-1960s, organized the forerunner of what is now Pathfinder, one of the region’s most accomplished social-services providers. He was the organization’s first president, in 1966. His United Way board tenure included a stint as president, in 1968. He has also led the city library board of trustees and the Medical Memorial Foundation of Huntington County. When the Huntington County Chapter of the American Cancer Society was organized, he was its first president.

John will mark his 60th year in the Huntington Optimist Club in 2024 and, an Eagle Scout himself, he has been a lifelong proponent of Scouting.

Among their numerous philanthropic activities, the Regans endowed the Delene Anne Regan Valedictorian Scholarship at Huntington North High School. Delene, who had been valedictorian of her class at Huntington High School, passed away in 2016.

Numerous honors from a grateful community have come his way, including the Chamber of Commerce’s Chief of the Flint Springs Tribe recognition in 2006.

From the time he opened his practice in 1961, John Regan has advocated for change and improvement in the world of dentistry. In both an official capacity and as a member, he has represented and supported the aims of the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and other organizations devoted to dental education and research. He was a founder of the Indiana Academy of General Dentistry in 1971.

As a leader of the Academy of General Dentistry, which serves family dentists from the United States and Canada, he was honored as the organization’s Convocation speaker at the University of Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Regan recalls, “I was driving to and from somewhere on dental association business almost every weekend for years.”

Dr. Regan is an emeritus life member of the American Association of Endodontists — a branch of dentistry focusing on the tissue surrounding the roots of teeth. He also taught at the IU School of Dentistry, and in 1978 was named a research fellow of the Academy of Dentistry International. He spent the decade of the 1980s as the only practicing dentist on a committee of a private organization that oversees voluntary standards for all dental products in the United States.

It’s not often that a hometown dentist is featured in national news, but that was the case on several occasions surrounding Dan Quayle’s term as Vice President of the United States. Dr. Regan had been the vice president’s family dentist for years, so Quayle made a point to stop at the Cherry Street office for a “checkup” when he returned to his hometown during the campaign season. And wherever Quayle went in those days, the media followed, which made for some memorable appointment bookings for Dr. Regan’s staff.

Each of the Regans’ eight children have enjoyed successful careers of their own — three are dentists, three are physicians, and two are business executives. John has 21 grandchildren and often takes time in retirement to visit with family members, still leaving some time for community volunteer activities, as well as fishing, hiking, and his favorite sport — golf.

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