Topeka doctor heads into retirement with focus on staying active

Dr. Mary Franz has spent nearly 30 years caring for patients. As she prepares to retire, she reflects on her career, and the importance of staying active as we
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:29 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Dr. Mary Franz steps into retirement in mid-March.

“I’ve had a lot of people that I had the opportunity to touch and interact with,” she says of her career that’s spanned nearly three decades.

Working several years as a med tech in a hospital lab, she considered entering veterinary school, before realizing human medicine was her calling.

“Making a difference in people’s lives, this is a job that I really love,” she said.

Dr. Franz started in family practice with St. Francis Family Medicine in Topeka in 1995. She has spent the past two years with Stormont Vail, caring for residents in long-term care facilities. She says she’s loved the change.

“It’s so rewarding and so important to treat our elderly like they’re humans still and like they have an ounce of sense in their heads,” Dr. Franz said. “Granted, yes, we have dementia as we get older that can interrupt any of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that they stop being people. You have to interact with them at a different angle, in a different way.”

Dr. Franz says the death of her daughter from a brain tumor in 2009, followed by her own battle with ovarian cancer in 2010 caused her to slow down, but also gave her perspective.

“It was really helpful for me to be able to say I’ve been there, I’ve done that I’ve walked this path, let me help you,” she said.

With retirement her next move, Dr. Franz plans to get started on the right foot by hosting Stormont’s next “Walk with a Doc” session. She says she intends to set out on the path to an active retirement.

“If we allow our muscles to become weak, if we do not use them, than we increase our risk for fall, but there’s also those endorphins that get released when we’re active, and that helps with our mental abilities and our cognition as well,” she said.

As evidence of her dedication, Dr. Franz said she’s even purchased a pet stroller to take her cats along when she takes a walk with her dog!

Before she starts this next chapter, Dr. Franz says she’s grateful to the thousands of patients and families who’ve crossed her path.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share your life,” she said.

You can join Walk with a Doc and wish Dr. Franz well on Saturday, March 18. It’s a one-mile stroll and chat starting at 9 a.m. from outside Washburn University’s Lee Arena.