Local optometrist Dr. Donald Blocker has retired after 46 years of practicing in Portland. Blocker is known for his expertise in serving his patients as well as his kindness and genuine concern for them.
When he began thinking of retiring, he also began looking for the right person to buy his practice. He was looking for someone that he could trust to provide quality, ethical vision care to the Portland community. His desire was to find someone who would care for the well-being and health of his patients and at the same time be an asset to the community. He was pleased when he sold the practice and building in January 2020 to Dr. Richard Durocher, owner of Optometric Physicians of Middle Tennessee.
Blocker and his wife Dianne Dellinger Blocker grew up in Columbia, Tenn. He attended Middle Tennessee State University for his pre-optometry classes. He graduated from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis in 1968.
Blocker spent six years in the United States Army. He was stationed in San Francisco, Seoul, Korea, and Brussels, Belgium where he served as an optometrist at the 196 Station Hospital at NATO Headquarters. After his time in the army, he purchased Dr. Burkett Nelson’s optometry practice in Portland.
He and his wife moved directly from Belgium to Portland, which he described as quite a transition. First, they were moving to a community where they did not know anyone. They bought the only house for sale in Portland sight unseen after viewing photographs his mother and father in-law sent to them in Belgium. That house has been their home for the last 46 years, and the place their four children grew up.
“Within a few weeks we knew Portland would be home. The community welcomed us from day one. Portland Vision Clinic grew as Portland grew, (and) we knew that we made the right choice.” Blocker said.
Blocker has been an active member of the Portland community. Professionally, he has served on the Board of Directors of Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians and as president of the North Central Tennessee Optometric Association.
He and his wife are members of McKendree Memorial United Methodist Church where he has held several leadership roles over the years. They are members of “The Memorial Ringers.” He has served as past president of both the Lions Club and the Rotary Club. In addition, he served as president of the Portland Chamber of Commerce in the early developing years of the chamber.
The Blockers are avid travelers having toured Europe, while he was stationed in Belgium. According to Blocker they put 52,000 miles on a small car they bought when they arrived in Belgium. They have traveled extensively in western parts of the United States, and they plan to continue their travels by spending some time touring the New England states.
Blocker enjoys photography, especially taking pictures of old barns and old houses.
Reading is also one of his pleasures. He enjoys reading about the early history of the United States. According to Blocker, he has enjoyed watching Portland grow from a town with four or five industries to exploding to what it is today while still maintaining the small-town feel.
“I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the thousands of loyal patients that have trusted and supported me and my family during the 46 years of practicing optometry in Portland. I have been the eye doctor for hundreds of patients, their children, their grandchildren, and now even their great grandchildren. I thank you for all these years as patients, as friends, and as family,” Blocker said.
The pandemic prevented the office staff from hosting a retirement party for the community to bid Blocker farewell.