In 1963, Stan Freeman and his wife Sharon took a ride up I-95. He was completing 2 years as a captain in the US Air Force dental service.
At lunchtime, they took Exit 18 to find a place to eat. The Clam Box — at the end of the Sherwood Island Connector — seemed welcoming.
It was a beautiful spring day, so after lunch they explored the town. A sign outside a new Imperial Avenue office building said, “Dental Offices for Rent.” Freeman — who was ready to open a solo practice — was intrigued.
He and his wife had strong ties to their native Bronx. But they kept coming back to Westport.
The owners of the new building — orthodontist Arthur Thomas and general dentist Norman Feitelson — offered to help Freeman design his own office.
His practice thrived. He added dentists — Brian Duchan in 1977, his son Adam Freeman in 1992, then Hannah Ahn and, most recently, Kimberly Farrell.
He moved to 329 Riverside Avenue. He stayed on top of all the advances in dentistry: the latest equipment, composite fillings, new techniques.
Finally, 55 years later — long after both the Clam Box and its successors, including Bertucci’s, have closed — Dr. Stan Freeman is retiring.
After December, he’ll no longer see patients. But he will continue to work with the Connecticut Dental Association. He’ll still teach at Touro College of Dental Medicine, where — like Columbia University School of Dental Medicine before it — he earned the rank of full professor.
He’ll add to his published works too, which now number over 25 original papers, in international journals.
Freeman says he’s enjoyed every day of his 55 years in Westport. But his route to dentistry was almost random. As a student at NYU’s Bronx campus, he had to pick a major. On a whim, he attended a meeting of the Pre-Dental Society.
“There was no magic moment,” he says. “It seemed like a good idea.”
He earned his medical degree at McGill University. Then came the Air Force, I-95 — and the rest is history.
Freeman has watched Westport evolve, from a “small town with mom-and-pop stores” to what it is today. But it’s still relatively small, and it has always been filled with “great people,” he says.
He has watched young patients grow up, get married, and bring their own children to his office. He built his practice by getting to know all his patients.
And his town.
Freeman served 12 years on the Conservation Commission — 8 as chair — and chaired the Zoning Board of Appeals too.
He was also a member of the Democratic Town Committee executive committee, attending 3 state conventions.
Freeman is not going anywhere. He and Sharon raised 4 children here — including Adam, now president of the practice — and there’s no reason to leave.
Dr. Stan Freeman looks forward to November 7 (5:30 to 8:30 p.m., 329 Riverside Avenue), when his entire office celebrates his long career.
The tens of thousands of patients he’s cared for over 55 years are invited too. Just call 203-227-3709 to RSVP.