Dr. Otterson was born in Comox and raised in Courtenay and Kelsey Bay. After graduating from Carihi in Campbell River she attended the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan, completing a Bachelor of Science Degree (Agriculture). In continuing education her goals were to pursue a career in health, work closely with people and be “hands on”; dentistry was a perfect fit and she completed her DMD at the University of Saskatchewan. Although life on the prairies, especially canoeing and camping in northern Saskatchewan were enjoyable, the lure of the ‘The Island’ was too strong. In 1992 she returned to Vancouver Island to balance her three loves; family, dentistry and kayaking. Ladysmith is the perfect place to do this.
In the last several years Dr. Otterson has had the privilege of taking her skills and training to remote locations. She and Peter have worked with Kindness In Action, a volunteer organization that runs dental clinics in developing countries. They particularly enjoyed a trip to the Philippines. On another occasion, Dr. Otterson, joined a KIA team headed by Dr. Jim Guild serving a remote community in Peru.
Closer to home, a great pleasure and privilege has been providing dental services to the Inuit. Dr. Otterson has made several trips to remote communities in both the North West Territories and Nunavut. It has been a thrill to walk over the Arctic tundra and engage with the Inuit people in this beautiful culturally rich part of our county.
While working for many years in Victoria as a Certified Dental Assistant, Shirley broadened her skills to encompass the administrative and management aspects of dentistry. You will find her to be friendly, cheerful and understanding while listening to the concerns of our patients. She draws on her vast knowledge while helping staff and patients schedule and understand the complexities of dental treatment plans. She is enthusiastic about the opportunity to share her experience with Dr. Suzanne Otterson Family Dentistry.
Shirley’s story began in Kelvington, Saskatchewan. Her family later moved to the northern shores of Lake Athabasca, near the once bustling community of Uranium City. As a young man, her father was stationed in Nanaimo, while completing some of his training in the Canadian Army. He was amazed by the beauty of Vancouver Island, and dreamt of returning one day. When Shirley attended Malaspina College to become a Certified Dental Assistant, she actually stayed in the very same buildings that her father had stayed in, so many years earlier.
Her time away from work has been spent doing what she loved best – being a homemaker and having the privilege of being the mother of two wonderful sons. Now that they are young men with their own full lives, Shirley is enjoying the freedom of being an empty nester. She is thrilled to be living in the beautiful town of Ladysmith, so close to the part of Vancouver Island that captivated her father’s heart in the 1940’s.
Peter is a retired graphic illustrator and accomplished artist. He brings his varied skills to support our dental clinic. You may see Peter greeting patients, maintaining our equipment, or restoring the 1920’s house that our office is located in.
Peter graduated from Nanaimo Senior Secondary. After graduation he worked at the Harmac Mill, before studying commercial art in Vancouver and Calgary. Much of Peter’s career in advertising was spent in and around Vancouver. He has also lived on Saltspring Island, and is now back in the Ladysmith area. Walking through our office, you may notice several of his paintings displayed on the walls.
His interests in boating, biking, and scuba diving have taken him on many adventures around the world.