Dr. Robert J. Bendzak poses alongside a wall filled with pictures of his patients and their families. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kenmore Reporter

Kenmore orthodontist to retire after 60 years

Dr. Robert J. Bendzak first opened Kenmore Dental Clinic more than 60 years ago, working as a dentist after leaving the U.S. Navy.

“I was fortunate to have patients waiting for me,” he said, adding his popularity as a dentist in the Navy carried over to his practice.

After working for a few years as a dentist, he went to orthodontic school at the University of Washington and changed his practice from dentistry to orthodontics. In some families, Bendzak said he’s been able to have four generations of patients over the years, adding his career in orthodontics started with the kids of his dentistry patients.

“His practice is like an extension of his family,” his daughter Jody Wellnitz said. “Every patient that walks in is giving Dad a hug.”

That familial feeling also extends to the office’s staffing. His wife, Dorene, ran the front desk for many years and still works on Wednesdays, and his daughters Kim Johansson and Wellnitz have been working there off and on since they were kids. His daughter-in-law Laura Bendzak also helps out with processing insurance.

“We’ve been in it for the long haul,” Johansson said of herself and Wellnitz, adding most of Bendzak’s seven kids have worked at the office at one point or another.

“We were picked up from slumber parties to go to work at 7 a.m. on Saturdays,” Wellnitz added.

The clinic hosts an annual Eggnog and Cookie Day to celebrate the holidays with patients (and check on their retainers), and this year’s two-day event also will give patients the opportunity to celebrate Bendzak’s retirement. Eggnog, coffee and cookies will be served at the event, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 19-20 at Kenmore Dental Clinic.

Bendzak will officially retire at the beginning of 2017, but he will be finishing up the orthodontic work for his current patients off and on for the next six months.

As for what he plans to do in his retirement, he doesn’t have any set plans, other than spending more time with his seven kids and 14 grandchildren, and possibly traveling with his wife.

“I have a lot of books to read,” Bendzak said, joking with his daughters about the stack that’s grown every Christmas, birthday and Father’s Day.

The practice will not be closing down as Bendzak leaves. It will continue with Dr. Eugenia Lee, who actually started at the clinic in August.

“It’s nice to have someone new come in,” Bendzak said, adding he will likely still come into the office on occasion. “I’ll end up being around.”

“She’s just lovely, she seems like a great fit,” Johansson said of Lee.

More in Business

Former Tully’s locations spring back to life

Following the coffee chain’s collapse earlier this year, other Eastside businesses are moving in.

Bothell Main Street business bouncing back after construction

After a fire and construction slowed business, many merchants are seeing people return.

Bothell City Hall. File photo
Developers miss deadline to salvage Bothell hotel project

The city council set a deadline of July 20 for Bothell Hotels LLC to submit a new plan.

Developers miss deadline to salvage Bothell hotel project

The city council set a deadline of July 20 for Bothell Hotels LLC to submit a new plan.

Select Gourmet Foods hopes to reopen by summer’s end

The butcher’s shop took damage from a fire last August but the owners are hoping to make a comeback.

Guest House gives Kenmore locals another eatery option

The restaurant is located just north of St. Edward State Park in south Kenmore.

Bothell chamber of commerce changes name to include Kenmore

The Bothell chamber of commerce has been re-branded to include its neighboring… Continue reading

CitySurf pop-up pool could open this summer on Eastside

A Sammamish couple hopes to break ground on a permanent indoor surf facility later this year.

Two wineries move in with Teatro ZinZanni

Two local wineries will be sharing the old Redhook brewery in Woodinville with Teatro ZinZanni.

Real estate embraces the digital era in creative ways

Kirkland’s MainStreet Property Group’s Junction Apartments in downtown Bothell topic of discussion at recent real estate symposium.

Bothell-Kenmore Reporter transitions to subscription model

The pre-paid subscriptions will be $39 a year or $3.99 monthly.

Sound Publishing appoints new president and vice president

Josh O’Connor is the new president and publisher while Terry Ward is the new vice president.