He's made a difference in thousands of people's lives in the Sioux Falls area. But long-time family practice Dr. Richard Friess says he's retiring before the end of the year.
Friess has been introducing himself to patients for nearly 50 years but for thousands of people, this Sioux Falls doctor doesn't need an introduction.
"I did 2,500 deliveries. I had the privilege of introducing those babies to their moms and dads. That was one of the most fun things, but to watch them grow up and become adults themselves. In many cases I got to deliver and make the first one a grandparent," Friess said.
When Friess first started practicing medicine, treatment was much different.
"We had only two or three antibiotics and when I first started amoxicillin was brand new," Friess said.
"We did just basic things. If they came in with a sore throat, they gargled with salt water," Friess' Former Nurse Iona Powers said.
Powers first started working with Friess as a nurse back in 1970.
"I don't personally believe the physicians now days take the time or have the time to do the physical exams they used to. When you went to Dr. Friess for a physical exam, you knew when you got out of there whether you had anything at all wrong with you," Powers said.
That personal attention Powers says is what made Friess the best physician she's seen.
In fact, tears still come to her eyes when she recalls how Friess told her in person, instead of on the phone, about her dad's grim cancer diagnosis.
"I think that personal attention is so important," Powers said.
"You could genuinely know that he cared for his patients and they felt that too. We could be behind and patients didn't care because they knew he would spend as much time as they needed," Sanford Registered Nurse Donnel Wheeler said.
As Friess' time as a doctor winds down, he says he'll miss the personal relationships with his patients and co-workers the most.
"Very difficult, very difficult because I've loved my work. It's been a real privilege to have all these people as part of my practice, and the privilege of having them call me doctor has been outstanding," Friess said.
Friess has not officially announced his last day yet, but he plans to retire before the end of the year. In addition to working in Sioux Falls, he also served in the military for two years and worked in Webster for one year.