The Man who Started it All - Gregory Strobel Sr.
A Chicago native, Gregory Sr. started life in a house at 76th and Creiger on the southside. He’d be destined to marry the girl one-block-away and raise their family in the same neighborhood of Chicago. Once the Strobels fall for a location, there’s no going back!
He graduated from Northwestern Dental School in 1932 and began practicing immediately. Right out of the gate, he began as an associate of Dr. Griffith, on the 16th floor above what was then the Marshall Field’s Men’s store annex.
(In)famous Patients From the Start
Like most of us straight out of school, Gregory Sr. was eager and naïve, not realizing that one of his very first regulars was the notorious Frank Nitti of Al Capone and “The Untouchables” fame. While this was short-lived (Nitti was jailed shortly after he began frequenting the office), his family continued on as loyal patients for many years, and the Strobels always received a fruit basket from the Nittis at Christmastime. Gregory Sr. would not realize who he had been treating until many years later. His practice continued to grow with infamous and regular patients alike, and he stayed in the same suite of the building from 1932 to 1975.
A Dentist Goes to War
That decades-long stretch had one significant break – World War II. With 13 years of practice under his belt at the start of the war, he enlisted with the Air force as a commissioned officer in the Dental Corps. Gregory Sr. held the rank of captain and was stationed in Southern Italy, where he had the depressing task of identifying fallen GIs by comparing their dental records with their skulls. He understandably viewed this as the darkest period of his career.
During his time at war, the building held his office space – unrented and at no charge to him – through his entire absence. It is acts of patriotism and kindness such as this, so rare to see these days, that have kept the Strobels loyal tenants for the past 88 years. Upon his return, he was able to pick up right where he left off and continue to establish his practice.
Our Business Grows
The 60s and 70s flew by, with the business successful as ever. During these decades, Gregory Sr. served as the team dentist for the Chicago Blackhawks, attending every home game and providing on-site, locker-room dental treatment as needed.
From day one, it was a family-centered business - case in point. Greg Sr.’s very first dental assistant was his niece, Beverly. The business could not survive as a one-man operation forever, and 1975 saw the addition of Greg Jr., as well as a move to the 18th floor and the addition of two chairs. Yet another family member was brought on at the same time – Greg Jr.’s cousin-in-law, Linda, joined the team as their first dental hygienist.
Dr. Greg Jr. Takes the Baton
Gregory Jr.’s intention was not initially to join the family business. In fact, he initially committed to joining the ministry and was on that path through his undergraduate program! Depending on who you ask, it was either dentistry or Dr. Greg’s beautiful soon-to-be wife Marilyn that turned his head from service. In any event, he was a welcome and needed addition to the practice!
A number of colleagues and former classmates of Gregory Sr. retired in the mid-late 70s, and their kind referrals were just the bump the Strobels needed to keep the practice alive and expanding. The Strobels are still grateful to Drs. Burns, Berner, Flanagan, Osusky, and Franklin for supporting and believing in their practice.
With the influx of referrals and the addition of staff, it was only a matter of time before another office move was in order. In 1982 they made the move to our current location, now on the 19th floor and currently a 6 chair practice. Sadly, one month after the move Gregory Sr. suffered a career-ending stroke and was forced to retire after 50 years of doing what he loved every day. He continued to advise Greg Jr. in all business aspects of the practice until his passing in 1988.
Dr. Greg Jr. spent the next 17 years expertly growing the practice with the assistance of a few associates and hygienists, along with his valuable assistant Helen and loyal admin Ruthie. The team didn’t meaningfully expand again until 2005 when Dr. Greg’s son Dan came on board straight from dental school.
The Tradition Continues
As it happens, Dr. Dan was not initially planning on going into dentistry either! His initial ambition out of undergrad was to teach, but after a couple of years of that, he found himself drawn to the science of dentistry and the legacy of his family’s practice. After graduating from The UIC Dental School in 2005, he began practicing with his dad full time.
Their combined love of science and innovation meant great technological leaps over the next 8 years, as Dr. Dan slowly assumed more of the managerial aspects of the practice and Dr. Greg began to curtail his hours at the practice. The team grew as well, to 4 hygienists, 3 admin, and 3 assistants!
Finally, after a phenomenal 38-year career, Dr. Greg retired in 2013 and Dr. Dan assumed full control of Strobel Dentistry. Dr. Isabella joined the team at that time, bringing her incredible intelligence and clinical experience to help us in our newest chapter of operation.
It’s been a wild 90 years, and we’re grateful to a wonderful team and patient community for supporting us as we aim for 90 more!