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At 94, Dr. Roepcke, a WWII vet from Bucks, is PA's oldest working dentist

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21.09.2021

Until the pandemic put the kybosh on his practice last year, Dr. Ike Roepcke, 94, filled cavities, drilled molars and cleaned teeth in an office attached to his home in Langhorne, where he’s lived since 1953.

“COVID did me in,” said Dr. Roepke who, according to the Pennsylvania Dental Association, is the oldest practicing dentist in the state.

“Not the oldest dentist, the oldest dentist still working,” he said.

“I’d be in my office, but the upgrades required to comply with COVID protocols are just too expensive,” he said.

It would cost $8,000.

“So I thought, well, I’m 93, and that’s a lot of money, so I decided against,” he said. “But I haven’t stopped working.”

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He looked back on his life, and all the turns it took. Dr. Roepcke, a Navy airman and veteran of World War II, said the biggest turn came when his father decided to leave Germany in the 1930s, as the Nazis came to power.

“All over Germany there were riots. The communists. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party — who became the Nazis — and a group called the Friekorps, like shock troops. All were rioting, burning things, attacking the police and anyone who disagreed with them. My father told my mother, ‘There’s no future in this country. We’re getting out.”

His father arrived at Ellis Island. In Germany, he was university........

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