Family History

When you visit our office, you may be impressed by just how state-of-the-art our office is. You may be surprised to learn, however, that our mission and values have been cultivated for almost 150 years by several generations of caring dental professionals in the McGuire family.

Family Traditions Rotary Club Honors

In 1865, just after the Civil War, Dr. Patrick McGuire’s great-grandfather, James Zachary, began practicing dentistry. At the time, dental treatment was somewhat different from what we know today. Although he didn’t use x-rays (which were invented in 1895) or novocaine (which was introduced in 1907), Zachary was committed to promoting his patients’ health as he cleaned, filled, and extracted their teeth.

In 1880, Dr. Zachary’s second daughter, Daisy, was born. Throughout her childhood, Daisy was interested in her father’s ability to ease the dental pain of his patients. Although she apprenticed with her father in the hopes of becoming a dentist, the founding of the North Carolina State Dental Board slightly changed Daisy’s plans. Since the board required dentists to be licensed, Daisy enrolled in dental school. After much dedication and hard work, she earned her degree in 1908 and became the first woman in North Carolina licensed to practice dentistry.

She married Wayne McGuire of Jackson County, North Carolina, and together they opened a dental office on Main Street in Sylva. Her practice was such a success that Dr. Daisy had more patients than she could properly care for. Wayne entered dental school and in 1911, and after he graduated, he began treating patients alongside his wife.

While managing their practice over the years, the McGuires also raised three daughters –Noracella, Patsy, and Kitty Dean. These girls, too, became interested in caring for people with dental problems and enrolled in dental school.

After graduating, Noracella returned to Sylva to work in her parents’ office and married Tom Wilson, the practice’s dental technician. While in dental school, Patsy was seated next to Harold McGuire and they established an immediate relationship. Both students were committed to excellence and graduated in the top five of their class (Harold was first while Patsy was third in their class). They married in 1937 and settled in Sylva where they, like Noracella, worked at the family practice.

Over the years, Drs. Patsy and Harold McGuire raised four children. With so many members of their family in dentistry, it was natural that their sons, Patrick and David, also became interested in improving the dental health of the community. Both attended dental school and soon after joined the McGuire family practice.

In 1977, Patrick was attending his first year in dental school when his grandmother, Daisy, decided to retire at the age of 97. At that time, she was the nation’s oldest practicing dentist. Over the years, subsequent members of the family also retired, leaving the care and legacy of their practice in the hands of the youngest generation.

Dr. Patrick and Dr. David took that responsibility seriously. By 1987, the family practice had been in the same location for nearly 80 years. Always looking for ways to improve the practice, Dr. Patrick and Dr. David decided to build a new facility on King Street, just one block above Main Street. Once construction was complete, the building was dedicated to the five McGuire dentists who had practiced together for 48 years: Daisy, Wayne, Harold, Patsy, and Noracella.

Today, that facility is the current home of Dr. Patrick’s practice. While it houses some the latest dental instruments and technology, he also keeps antique dental tools and historical relics of the Sylva community there as well. Our facility also has a Peace Garden created by the McGuire family to honor both Dr. Patsy and Dr. Harold McGuire. Their dedication and service not only to the profession, but to their family and community inspired a generation and insured that high quality, empathetic dental care would be available to the residents of Sylva for generations to come.