“Do You Have A Brother Named Berry Lee Moore?”

Heart Cath. Lab

Heart Cath. Lab

This question has been asked of me on many occasions and under lots of different circumstances throughout my life. On one occasion I was asked about Berry Lee (Bubba) in an unusual setting, and the conversation which followed brought me a lot of peace and comfort.

For the past seven years I have been adjusting to one of the health problems of advanced aging for the male members of the Moore family. My paternal grandfather, (Granddad Moore), my Dad (Pop) and my brother (Bubba) all had coronary artery disease of varying severity, and it ultimately caused the death of all three. Pop had other health issues which combined with his heart disease led to his seemingly premature death at age sixty-three years. Because both Bubba and I were keenly aware of our genetic weaknesses we became regular aerobic exercisers from our mid-thirties in age until late in our seventies. Neither of us were smokers nor did we drink beverage alcohol in any form, in part because those two bad habits are huge risk factors for heart disease.

Recently I have experienced a marked decrease in exercise tolerance which has concerned both Cathy and me. I plead guilty for acting like many physicians as I had not seen a doctor for my health for at least five previous years, so I had no idea what was happening. I suspected advancing coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) because of our family history. At Cathy’s insistence and the pleading of our children I agreed to consult a cardiologist, Dr. David Churchill in Fayetteville. I had known him and about his excellent reputation when we lived there over ten years previously.

At our first consultation I discovered I had developed atrial fibrillation (abnormal and uncontrolled heart rate) which was part of my overall problem and totally unsuspected by me. So much for my cardiac self-diagnosis! Dr. Churchill set into motion a series of invasive examinations over the next several weeks, and I was plunged deeply into the modern medical world in which I was now the patient and not the provider.

I decided early on I would be completely compliant to my doctor’s orders and not become a grumpy and demanding old doctor with my heels dug in! Having the loving encouragement and complete devotion of Cathy at my side combined with the concerns and sweet prayers of our children, grandchildren, other family members and friends have made the journey a lot less uncomfortable.

I was quickly scheduled for a TEE/DCC (Transesophageal echocardiogram/Direct current conversion) which in simple terms is shocking the heart back into normal rhythm. This was done at the Walker Heart Center, a highly sophisticated heart center in Fayetteville. Cathy and I had been there the previous week when I underwent a left heart catheter (diagnostic) procedure which went well, and this next procedure was to be therapeutic (treatment) and not diagnostic in nature.

The Walker Heart Center is quite large with as many as twenty to thirty patients having invasive and non-invasive procedures done daily. We arrived two hours early for the usual preparation procedures such as health history, acquiring vital signs, placing the intravenous line and drawing blood for the appropriate tests needed. At approximately the correct hour a nurse entered the room telling Cathy she should remain in the holding room because the planned procedure would only take twenty to thirty minutes, and I would be back in the room within the hour. At this she wheeled my gurney down the hall and up one floor on the elevator.

My gurney was placed in the hallway of the multiple procedure rooms awaiting my designated room, when the nurse announced “we have come up a little early, and there will be another fifteen to twenty minute wait here in the hallway.” As I lay in the hallway feeling exposed and vulnerable numerous professional people passed back and forth without ever acknowledging my presence. It was near the lunch hour, and I assumed some were headed to the cafeteria. At one point my cardiologist passed by, and I don’t think he recognized me because he simply say, “Hi”, and that was the full extent of his greeting. I had the overwhelming sense I was simply a specimen and not a person, more specifically a diseased heart needing a shock. I don’t believe it was a case of self-pity, because I don’t think I was treated any worse (or better) than any of the other patients in the heart center. At this point I quoted to myself the wonderful verse from I Corinthians 6: 19,20 reminding me my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I am not my own! I am to glorify God in my body and my spirit which are His! My spirit began to immediately lift despite what was taking place around me.

I was then moved into Procedure Room #10 filled with gigantic and highly technical equipment of which I had no professional knowledge. The technicians in the room, although efficient and knowledgeable were not particularly personable. An older technician, perhaps in his mid-40’s in age passed by the gurney holding my health record and disappeared into the control room without speaking.

In a minute or two the older tech. came walking over to me and said, “Do you have a brother named Berry Lee Moore?” My initial thought was he was too young to be a contemporary of Bubba, but he might have once been one of Bubba’s patients back in El Dorado. I said, “Yes sir, Berry Lee was my brother and we practiced medicine together for many years.” This man then said something totally unsuspected; “My grandmother was Dr. Berry Lee’s office nurse as long as he lived and I am Marty Leach, her daughter’s son. You Moore’s are just like family to my family!”

I was pleasantly stunned by his introduction. Mary Alice Cross was Bubba’s nurse for the entire fifty-five years he practiced general medicine, and now her grandson Marty was bringing me great comfort in this flood of memories from the past. I shook his hand and thanked him on behalf of his family heritage, while on the inside I thanked God He just “happened to have Marty Leach in the room” where I was feeling a bit lonely. I could hardly wait to get through this examination and cardiac conversion and back to the room to tell Cathy who God had waiting for me in Procedure Room #10! Blessed be the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our trials. II Cor. I: 3-5

Dr. John


22 thoughts on ““Do You Have A Brother Named Berry Lee Moore?”

    • Thank you Brother Marcus. I am sending you a separate email concerning our planned trip next week. We unfortunately have to put it on hold for now. 😦 Blessings to you and Jenee.


  1. Hi Dr. Moore! Vicky Atkinson posted this on Facebook. Our prayers are with you and Cathy as you enter the rhelm of the patient world. It’s often not a fun place to be but those moments like you have written about here are precious gifts from God to remind us that He cares. Thank you for making my surgery in ’93 one of those experiences that I tell often…the love of Jesus flowed through you to me during that entire experience. Much love to you and Mrs. Cathy. 😊

      • Hello again! Our family is doing very well. Darren and I are currently full time missionaries on the island of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. We’ve been here since March 2015. However, we’ve been coming here on mission trips since 2011. Our boys, Brandon (25) and Dylan (20) are both still living in the Raleigh area of North Carolina. Brandon was married in 2013 to his sweetheart, Sarah. Brandon is an X-ray Tech for a local Urgent Care and Dylan is an EMT. Both boys love the Lord and serve Him in their own churches and in their communities. Dylan feels God’s call to Africa and returned from a 3 month mission trip to Swaziland in April. He went with AIM (Adventures in Missions out of Gainesville, GA). His desire would be to live and serve in an orphanage in Africa full time. We are so thankful for the loving hearts for God and for people that He has given both our boys and Sarah.

        We moved to Raleigh, NC in 1997, started Gateway Community Church and pastored there until we felt God’s call to move here to Trinidad in March 2015. So our boys were raised in NC. It’s “home” for them. Our ministry here in Trinidad is to serve the local children’s homes (orphanages) and churches, and to make disciples through very intentional discipleship in small groups and one-on-one. Darren currently has a group of young men that he is discipling and I am helping a local church with their children’s ministry. In May of this year, a young man whom we met in one of the children’s homes came to live with us and be a part of our family. He’s 18 years old and loves the Lord. We are honored and blessed to call him our son.

        So that’s the Reader’s Digest version of our lives since leaving Arkansas. πŸ™‚ It’s filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, failures and successes. We love serving God and people, and hope to make an impact for Him on this tiny island. He is so faithful and worthy of our praise!!!

  2. I will be praying for you, Cathy, and your family. Over the years I have greatly appreciated your Walk in Christ, your compassion to your patients and those around you and your selflessness in His Service.

    • Thank you so very much for lifting us up to the Lord. We are at perfect peace because of what He is doing for us through so many like you. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!!


      Dr. John


    • Thank you so much for praying. Cathy and I completely agree with you the journey is a blessed one because of His leading and the prayers for us from those like you who love Him. Our kids went to Elliott for 2 years, but did not go to Maranatha, but we heard lots of stories about those bus trips to ball games from Becky.

      Blessings to you and your family:

      Dr. John

  4. Join the ranks of A Fib cronies and I will be 85 in Dec with a lousy family history too. It is not news that a mighty God is the only one who knows the day, time, and place for the exit from this earth. If I’d been making the predictions I would have been out of here years ago. However, both of us are hanging in with the ability to look out for one another and I thank the Lord for His graciousness. Happy Mary Alice’s grandson warmed the atmosphere for you. Those cold rooms with scant coverage can get pretty chilly and a warm hand with a kind heart can make it all better. Hug Cathy for me. We still miss you in South AR.

    • Looks like I’m joining a mighty fine group of A Fib cronies! Glad to hear you are still ticking along toward ’85. You know more than most how important that warm and loving touch is to a patient clothed in a scanty gown and uncertain where that next needle or probe is coming from. You impacted many through your ministry at the hospital in El Dorado.

      My good friend Burt Renager, originally from West Memphis whose family owned the parsonage that Brother Tommy and wife lived so many years, told me he recently had Tommy preach her funeral. She was 103! He said Brother Tommy did a beautiful job and touched all the family deeply.

      Thanks for reaching out to Cathy and me, Nettia. We hope to see you soon.

      Dr. John

  5. Glad to hear that you are doing well
    I finally retired and we moved to Ft Smith about 6 weeks ago
    Linda and I are doing well

    • David: It is so good to hear from you and know you and Linda are in Fort Smith. Do you have family there? In so many of these surgical stories I’ve written, I know you remember them also because we did those operations together. Such great memories! Since Cathy and I are in Fayetteville so often, perhaps we could arrange to meet somewhere half-way and all have a meal together. That would be a real blessing for us. Let’s stay in touch David!


      Dr. John

      PS: Maybe we could invite Sleepy LaBeef to join us. He lives in Springdale and I’ve seen him a couple of times. He still owes us that “Ablum.”

  6. Dr. John,
    I so enjoy your writings. The Hall’s have prayed for you. I told Avery about your procedure the day you were having it and she did not want to get out of the car until we prayed. So we did in the carport. We love ya’ll and happy to hear you are doing well.
    Love, Sonya Hall

    • Sonya: Cathy and I are deeply touched by your prayers for us. Please tell Avery how special she is to us along with all the Hall’s. We would love nothing more than have you visit us in Branson. We could try to get caught up.

      Our love to all of you:

      Dr. John

  7. You have our thoughts and prayers for you. ..my mother was Mattie Blanche Moore Ward. ..a cousin of yours…from ElDorado, Arkansas. ..will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. .always

    • Thank you so much for your prayers Cousin Marlin! We are continually being encouraged by family like you and so many friends. May you be blessed and strengthened by our Lord Jesus.

      Dr. John

  8. So glad to hear about you and Kathy. We use to see you between El Dorado and Fayetteville. My oldest son Brandon and his wife, she was Erin Mays, are still living in Fayetteville . They live off Hwy 45. So I still make many trips to Fayetteville. I just live around the corner from John Aaron and Gina.

    • We are very grateful to hear from you and so many other friends from South Arkansas. We used to love visiting with Brandon and Erin when we ate at Atlanta Bread Co., and I’m glad they stayed in the area. We go back to Fayetteville often to visit our daughter Ginny and family there. Perhaps one day we’ll move back there.

      Blessings to you Ann:

      Dr. John

  9. Dr. Moore, Irma and I wish you the best in this journey of recovery. Our prayers are with you and would like to add your to our church family prayer list. You have been an instrument of healing and have truly blessed many of us in South Arkansas.

    • Thank you Gary and Irma. Cathy and I are humbled and grateful for the prayers of so many long time friends like you two. God is faithful and gives us what (who) we need at just the right time.


      Dr. John

  10. Hey Uncle John,
    We are continuing to pray for you! I know God is using you to bring Him glory, even through all of this. I’m so thankful that He brought Marty to give you a little encouragement on that day–that is wonderful! We, of course, love Mrs. Cross and her family and it is still amazing to me that she worked with Dad that long–what a blessing! Just know we love you and Cathy and think of you often. We are praying for you. And keep writing your stories!!
    Love and hugs to you!

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