Shawano dentist sells practice

Zander served area nearly 40 years
By: 

DR. CASEY GABRHEL

Photo by Curt Knoke Dentist Jeff Zander retired last month after nearly 40 years of serving area residents.

Jeff Zander’s talent as a dentist could have taken him anywhere, but he set up practice in Shawano because he wanted to serve the community where he grew up.

Not only that, he particularly wanted to provide care for Shawano-area residents living on a tight budget.

Zander, who served thousands of patients and families starting in 1979, has retired after nearly 40 years in business at Wolf River Dental, 152 Woodlawn Drive.

Although his practice was quite successful, Zander looks back on his career with satisfaction at the impact he made on the community.

“I’ve made a lot of people healthy,” he said. “And that’s what’s important to me.”

Zander has turned over his practice to dentist Casey Gabrhel through a brokerage service called Stepping Stone Dental Partners, based in Madison.

Gabrhel, who graduated from dental school earlier this year and is following her father into the dental business, started seeing patients at Wolf River Dental as soon as Zander retired effective June 29.

Gabrehl said she was drawn to Shawano because Zander’s practice reminded me her of her father’s practice back in the Milwaukee area.

“It’s small and quaint, but still busy enough,” she said. “I love it. And the patients have been really great.”

Zander, 65, who graduated from Shawano High School in 1970, returned to Shawano after dental school at Marquette University and dedicated himself to serving patients in need. As one of the few dentists who accepted Medicaid recipients, he found himself attracting patients from as far away as Baraboo and Superior.

At the time of his retirement, Wolf River Dental was seeing about 25 patients a day and had 4,500 or more as active patients within the past year and a half.

Zander was proud to become known as a dentist who would advocate for low-income families.

“Somebody’s got to fill the need,” he said.

With his wife, Holly, Zander also has been an active supporter of education who volunteers at Shawano Community High School and the Shawano County Historical Society. He plans to spend retirement continuing to teach and remaining active in the community.