The Saving Love of a Father

Dr. John F. Redman was Chairman and Head of the Department of Urology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for many years and has had a distinguished and outstanding career in urology. When he was appointed to the position at age 29 he was the youngest department head in the history of the medical center. During his long career in the field of urology, he trained many of the current physicians of the state of Arkansas in that field, and he achieved numerous awards for his accomplishments. I knew “Johnny” Redman in medical school; he was in the 1963 graduating class, a year ahead of me. I don’t believe anyone who knew Johnny in those days predicted what lay ahead for him, although he was a gifted and precocious student who graduated from high school at age 16 and finished college in 2 years.

If one was looking for a wild party and all that entailed you had to find Johnny Redman, and he was front and center of the action. Because he was a year ahead of me and I wasn’t seeking an association with that crowd, I didn’t have much personal contact with him. I lost contact with him during my training years, but when I began my practice in general surgery in El Dorado in the early 1970’s, I knew Dr. John Redman was then head of the Urology Department at the U of A Med Center. Over the next 20 years or so, I referred a few patients to him, and all of them did well reporting they were treated very well. I had an occasional phone conversation with him during that time, but it was always concerning the patients.

In the mid 1990’s after Cathy and I had become believers and were very active at Immanuel Baptist Church, I was invited to give my personal salvation testimony at the Arkansas State Baptist Convention. Our pastor Brother David Uth was President of the convention, and he made the arrangements for me to speak at the First Baptist Church in Little Rock. While sitting on the front row of the church awaiting my turn to speak, the pastor of First Baptist Brother Bill Elliff leaned over to me and quietly said, “The best soul winner by far in our church is Dr. John Redman.” I said, “You mean the Dr. Redman who is the head of urology at the medical school?” I was shocked at such a change in a person! “How did that come about?”, I asked. He briefly told me of Dr. John’s conversion experience, and in that quiet 2 minute conversation I was brought to tears and wasn’t sure I could stand and publicly speak. Here is the story I later confirmed from John himself when I called him that same week:

“I lived a wild life from the time I finished high school, and it continued through the years I became Department Chairman of Urology at the U of A  Medical Center. I cared nothing about spiritual things; had several failed marriages and was less than exemplary in my personal life. I hated the fact both my parents were committed Christians and were constantly telling me I needed to change my way of living and follow Jesus. My Dad was a physician in Fort Smith and understood the pressures of our profession, and he seemed more urgent in his witness to me. He was always kind, but very persistent. I came to a point of frustration and anger and finally told both parents since all they wanted to talk with me about was religion, I wanted nothing more to do with them. I cut off all communication and refused speaking with them or writing and never read any of their letters to me. It was not long after I had done this, my Father died unexpectedly. I felt terrible about his death, but at least I didn’t have to hear any more about changing my life.”

About 4 years later John said he was moving into a new office at the medical center and was alone one evening arranging his desk. He was placing items from his previous desk into the new desk and saw a letter from his Dad written 4 years before and left unopened. He decided to read the last communication he ever received from him, knowing all the while the substance of the letter. “Sure enough,” he said. “In the letter he told me how much he loved me; how much he missed me and how badly he wanted me to get myself straightened out. In the lower corner of the letter he wrote a scripture verse; drew a circle around it and said “Do what this says!” The verse was Romans 10: 9 and 10″. John said he didn’t know where to even find a Bible, but in that same drawer containing the letter he spotted a New Testament; unopened, which he had been issued by the Air Force about 15 years earlier. He looked in the table of contents to find where to find where Romans was located and the verse his Dad recommended. He read; If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

John said he sat there for a very long time thinking about that verse, and finally in desperation called out, “God if you are really out there, I do want you to save me and I confess you as my Savior.” John said he didn’t see lightening flashing or hear thunder rolling, but at that moment he knew he had been changed.

He said he went home that evening and told his live-in girlfriend Anna (also a physician), they could no longer live together without being married. She did not understand this sudden calamity, but moved out. John said she was very mad at this sudden change in his attitude. In the months following, John witnessed the Lord Jesus to Anna, and she also was saved. They subsequently married and joined First Baptist Church in Little Rock and were baptized.

Hearing the condensed version of this testimony that morning on the front row of First Baptist Church in Little Rock moved me greatly. It is more evidence no one is so far from God he cannot be saved from destruction, and God will clean the heart of the worst sinner to make him useful for the Kingdom. It also challenges us to never give up on a loved one. The love of a father and mother can powerfully lead a prodigal back to our saving Lord even years after they have departed!

Dr. John






Reversal of a Technical Foul

Signaling A Technical Foul

I have loved playing basketball since my brother Berry Lee (Bubba) first taught me to make a basket when I was about 6 years old. He was an excellent football player, but was so coordinated he was also good in most other sports. The best thing about him to me in regards to sports was he took time to spend with his “little brother” to teach me the fundamentals of the sports in which he excelled. I was especially captured by basketball and tennis and spent many hours practicing each one depending on the season. I was able to play on the varsity teams of both sports for the El Dorado High School Wildcats! I probably preferred basketball in those years because school excitement and support was greater for basketball and only few fans showed up for a tennis match.

My senior year in El Dorado High School I was a starter on the basketball squad, and I have many wonderful remembrances of that year. I have written about some of them on this blog. (Wildcat Basketball, Dec. 2015). Although I was 6′ 2″ in height, I was very skinny and was not heavy enough, nor could I jump hjgh enough to be a particularly good rebounder. I played mostly on the perimeter as a shooting guard and seldom “mixed it up” underneath the basket. As a perimeter shooter I didn’t get many personal fouls and never fouled out of a game during the two years I was on the varsity squad. On one occasion, however, I did get a technical foul, which is more serious than a regular foul. Two technical fouls and you are tossed out of the game. There are various reasons for being assessed a technical foul, but the one I received was for making a smart aleck remark to the referee. He had called a regular foul on me which I didn’t think I deserved, and I said something like, “That was a bad call– I didn’t even touch the guy and you missed it!” The referee held his hands to signal a technical foul on me which gave the opposing player 2 extra free throws. My coach, Pel Austin was not at all pleased with me but left me in the game after a good scolding on the sidelines.

I remembered the incident well and the referee who was a regular high school referee named Dub Martin. He was a native of El Dorado and well-known in the area for being a man of great character and an excellent, no-nonsense referee. He and his family were very active members of Marrable Hill Chapel under the pastorate of Brother Sam Shepperson, and his son Charlie became a prominent Southern Baptist pastor. Years later I was privileged to serve on the staff for  Brother Charlie Martin at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo, Florida. (God Will Make A Way- Our Ministry in Florida, Apr. 2016).

As a general surgeon for almost 29 years in El Dorado between 1971 and 1999 I had the privilege of serving many people with whom I had experiences during my formative years of growing up there. One of those patients was Dub Martin. He had an uncomplicated surgical problem which needed repair, and he came to me as a patient for that procedure. I had not seen him in years, but certainly knew about him and his reputation as a kind and Godly man. I was pleased and honored he selected me for his operation and made it known to him how grateful I was for the trust.

The night before the procedure I was visiting with him and explaining what he might expect during the operation and the expected recovery time for such a procedure. I could tell by his demeanor I would be able to add some levity to the situation so I said, “Brother Dub, before I pray with you about the operation and your healing, may I ask you a personal question?” He said, “Sure Brother John, what is it?”

“You may not remember what happened 25 years ago, but in a basketball game the Wildcats were playing against Camden, you called a technical foul on me because you thought I was disrespecting your call of a regular foul on me which I did not do. I got in serious trouble with Coach Austin over it, and I have never forgotten about it. Before I take you into the operating room and put you to sleep to do this operation, do you want to re-consider that technical foul?” I was grinning when I told him the account, and he knew I was having fun with him. I didn’t expect his retort.

“I have often thought about that call Brother John”, he said. “I was a referee for many years and made thousands of calls. In all those years I now believe this was the only call I made which was wrong, and right now I am reversing that technical foul!”, he said laughingly. “It’s never too late to ask forgiveness”, we both said joyfully before we shook hands and prayed together for his healing.

Brother Dub healed nicely, recovered well, and — I was set free from the stigma of a technical foul!! I just wish Coach Austin could have been there to hear it. 🙂

Dr. John

The Eternal Benefit of a Serious Wound

Diabetic Leg Ulcers

When one is suffering from the painful and embarrassing consequences of a non-healing wound it is extremely difficult if not impossible to appreciate any benefits as a result. Such was the case for Alex Johnson when he presented himself for treatment at the Wound Care Center of Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.I was privileged to serve as one of the medical directors of that clinic during the years 2000-2005 and Mr. Johnson became one of my patients during my tenure.

Mr. Johnson was in his mid-80’s in age and had been seeking treatment of his lower extremity wound for several months prior to coming to our clinic. He was brought to the clinic by his daughter, Betty Ann and son-in-law Eddie Bradford. When I first met him we made a connection stronger than a usual doctor-patient relationship. He had a wonderful, sweet countenance and smile, and conversation with him was very easy because of his outgoing personality. He was the kind of man whom I felt I had known for years after just one 30 minute patient encounter.

In the practice of wound care it is often necessary to see the patients regularly and frequently  in order to facilitate reversal of their wounding processes. Most patients with chronic wounds are middle-aged or older and have significant other medical issues. Diabetes is a common co-morbidity and peripheral vascular disease which is usually present either delays or prevents a  normal healing process. Mr. Johnson was dealing with both problems, and because his efforts to heal his wounds were failing he was becoming very discouraged. Despite the circumstances and frequent medical visits he had a gentle and cheerful spirit, and I knew whatever plan was initiated he would be compliant.

I had never met Mr. Johnson nor his family but immediately recognized his son-in-law, Eddie Bradford. Any loyal Razorback football fan who is over 60 years in age remembers Eddie as an excellent football player from the early 1950’s. He played for Coach Bowden Wyatt on a team which had only 25 players in 1954 and became known as “The 25 Little Pigs.” Eddie was a starter on the offensive line, and the team was so good they won the Southwest Conference championship and played in the Cotton Bowl on January 1, 1955 against Georgia Tech. I wrote about my experience in Dallas on that New Year’s Day when I was privileged to go with some friends to see the game. (A Panhandler At The Cotton  Bowl;  June, 2014).

Eddie and his wife Betty Ann love the Lord Jesus and were perceptive enough in loving Mr. Johnson to know he did not have a personal relationship with Christ. Eddie told me in a private conversation at the clinic during the initial visit he and Betty Ann had witnessed to him “for years”, but something in his belief system had prevented him from receiving and embracing Christ as Savior. Eddie said they would really appreciate any witness I might be toward their beloved father. I began praying God would open the door to allow His Spirit to convict Mr. Johnson.

Because of the severe nature of his wound it was necessary to see Mr. Johnson at least once weekly, and by the third visit he and I had developed a strong and trusting relationship. On the second visit I challenged him before I saw him again to strongly consider the truth of God’s love for him; how he had created him uniquely and desired more than anything to forgive him, cleanse him and give him a new and eternal life. I told him the full measure of God’s love for him was in the well-known verse John 3:16! Whatever change took place in Alex’s mind happened between his 2nd and 3rd visit, because on his next visit to the clinic he was totally open to the Gospel. I told Alex God had been waiting patiently to enter his life because this was the reason He had sacrificed His only Son for sinners like Alex and me. It was a gift from Him freely given to us at the costly price of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. At this point in our conversation Alex stopped me to ask. “On what basis do you claim all of this is true?” I said, “Alex, I’m basing everything I have told you on God’s written Word, the Bible. I believe every word contained in it is the truth, and I’m staking all of my future on it!” Alex said, “I can buy that.” I said, “Alex, why don’t you bow your head, ask God to forgive you from your sins, enter your heart and save you?” He said, “I would like to do that!” Alex prayed a simple prayer of faith that morning, and God answered it and entered his life and heart as He promised. The Bible says there was great rejoicing in heaven over Alex Johnson that morning!

I didn’t see what took place in heaven, but I sure experienced the joy, the tears and hugs from the Johnson and Bradford family that morning in the Wound Care Clinic. As a wound care physician for many years I know how difficult it is to see any benefit from a severe life-altering wound, but when I see Alex Johnson again in glory at the feet of Jesus, I will ask him, “Was it worth it?” I can imagine his response might be something like, “Look around here and look our Savior Jesus Christ! What do you think?”

Dr. John





“Thee I Love” — Part 3

Bride and Groom: Aug. 7, 1965

Our move to Branson, Missouri occurred in November, 2005, and Cathy and I bought a new home in the Branson North subdivision, a short 5 minute drive from the hospital. For the first time in our married life I was regularly able to have lunch at home with her. Our home was large enough to accommodate all of our family for weekend visits and special holidays since we were anticipating lots of visits to such a fun town!

The Wound Care Clinic position was ideal for me at this stage in my professional life, and fortunately all the nurses working there were believers. With the administration’s permission we had a 10 minute daily devotion and prayer time for our patients at the beginning of each clinic, and we were able to pray with many of our patients. Some were led to a faith in Christ while being treated in the clinic.

Within 2 years of living in Branson God opened the door for founding of a new ministry, The Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks in 2008. Cathy and I believe this clinic is the supernatural fulfillment of the vision He had placed in our hearts in 1999 when He directed us to move to Florida to open the church medical clinic at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. I have written about our experiences in the 5 part blog; The Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks, Nov. 2012. It was exciting for Cathy and me to be involved in such a ministry, and we initially began working together as chaplains praying with and encouraging people coming to the clinic for free medical care.

Because Mary Kay and Dave were members of First Baptist Church Branson we didn’t look for another church home but sank our roots into the ministry there and finding perhaps the best church we had ever experienced. We were able to begin a younger couples Sunday school class which grew in numbers very quickly. I was fortunate to begin a new teaching ministry there and soon added 2 other Godly men, Hebo Hall and Dr. Marvin Schoenecke to assist in teaching. Under the pastorate of Neil Franks, FBC Branson grew into the largest Baptist church in Taney County. At my retirement from medical practice in November 2011, Pastor Franks invited me to join the ministerial staff in charge of new member outreach and marriage mentoring. Cathy and I  continued our mentoring of young married couples along with 12 other couples committed as mentors for the ministry.

One of the highlights of our life in Branson occurred in July, 2015 when Cathy and others organized and we had the 2nd ever Moore Family Reunion in Branson. The only other reunion of our branch of the Moore Family occurred in El Dorado in 1972, just 1 year after we moved there. Our reunion in Branson was over the 4th of July weekend and was a wonderful success. In attendance were all of our children and grandchildren, most of brother Berry Lee and wife LaNell’s children and grandchildren, and sister Marilyn, husband George and as many of their children and grandchildren as were able to attend. It was so much fun being all together finally, and everyone agreed to not wait another 45 years before having the 3rd reunion!

The year 2016 became a physically difficult year for me because of increasing problems  with coronary artery disease. Despite years of weight control and a regular exercise program, the genetic factor of heart disease in the Moore family began taking a toll on me. Seeking cardiac care in Fayetteville with a cardiologist Dr. David Churchill whom I knew to be excellent, the path led to an open heart procedure and triple bypass operation on December 1, 2016 in Fayetteville by Dr. James Counce. The operation was successful with no post-operative complications, but the recovery has been slower than expected and marked with persistent problems with atrial fibrillation. As of this writing I am still awaiting another procedure to control the irregular heart rate which keeps me weakened and unable to exercise as before.

Throughout the years following my retirement from medical practice in 2011, Cathy and I have drawn closer and more dependent on each other. During the initial recovery phase of my heart procedure when I was severely disabled, Cathy provided countless hours of care and support without complaint and with a cheerful spirit. She has shown me over and over what it means to be selfless and poured-out in loving one’s spouse, and this experience has been instrumental in our encouragement of the married couples in our ministry at First Baptist. We are convinced the life lessons God is teaching us now can become life-changing for others.

When I had the words “Thee I Love” inscribed in Cathy’s wedding band 52 years ago I had no idea how those words would be lived out. At the time of our marriage I just knew I was committed to her for life and she was committed to me. We have certainly had a few rough spots in the journey, but there never was a time either of us believed our union was not made in heaven. When we surrendered ourselves to the Lord Jesus that evening in Dallas in August, 1977 we didn’t know how the Lord was going to use us going forward together, but were very sure He was.

Over the past 52 years Cathy and I have been able to accumulate some things we treasure from our life together, but all these things pale in light of our real earthly treasures, our children and grandchildren. What a joy to know they are all saved and living lives which are pleasing to our Lord. Our son John Aaron and wife Gina live in El Dorado, Arkansas along with their two sons, Brady and Landon. Their oldest son, Drew has completed college as a mechanical engineer and works in Ruston, Louisiana. He and his fiance, Emily Chandler will be married in June, 2018 when she completes her college studies at Louisiana Tech. Our older daughter Mary Kay and husband Dave Janke live in Branson, Missouri with their two daughters, Rebecca and Sara Beth. Our younger daughter Ginny and husband, John Luther live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with their two children, Claire and Nathan. They are all the delights of our hearts, and Cathy and I are so blessed!

I really love the position God has placed us in for now and probably for the remainder of the journey, and to add a few words to  one of my baseball hero’s, Lou Gehrig in the speech at his retirement, “Today I consider myself the luckiest (most blessed) man on the face of the earth (because of the Lord Jesus and Cathy).

Dr. John



50th Anniversary

“Thee I Love” — Part 2

Bride and Groom: Aug. 7, 1965

Cathy and I moved from Valdosta, Georgia to El Dorado, Arkansas in August, 1971 to begin a new phase in our journey. Our 2 young children, John Aaron, age 4 and Mary Kay, age 2 were excited about this new adventure, but Cathy and I were just a little apprehensive with lots of unanswered questions about our future. Could I make a living doing surgery in the town I grew up in? Would we be able to make the right kind of friends for ourselves and our kids? Would we fit into the culture of this small Southern town which still had many prejudiced people who had just come through the tumultuous, racially charged 1960’s?

Cathy had the greatest adjustment to make, because she was separated by many miles from the culture in which she was raised and from any of her  family members. In those years I was not the supportive husband I should have been in understanding Cathy’s plight and the sacrifices she was making. I just assumed in time she would be able to settle into our new life-style and would find her place, her purpose and accomplish her own goals. My thoughts and goals then were professional in terms of becoming the best surgeon possible and providing the best resources for our family. Those were not bad goals; just not centered on Cathy and our kids as it should have been.

The next great event in our life together was the birth of our second daughter, Ginny on November 3, 1972. By this time Cathy and I had purchased the Moore family home in which I was raised at 1800 North Madison from my Mom. She moved into the rental home on East 7th Street where we had been living. Our new home was large with a very large yard in which our kids could play. Our across the street neighbors were the Clyde’s and their children Elizabeth and older brother Andrew would play a large role in our lives then and at a much later time.

We became members of First Baptist Church upon moving to town and immersed ourselves into the ministry of this long-established downtown church. We provided leadership and I was a teacher of a young couples Sunday school class. I was even selected to serve as a deacon. We were fully vested as church members, but both of us felt a certain emptiness in our hearts and in our life together. We didn’t fully understand our dilemma or our need until we attended a Bill Gothard seminar in Dallas, Texas in August, 1977. I wrote about our salvation and life-change which occurred at that seminar on August 6, 1977, and from that day forward we were different individually and toward each other (A Shopping Trip to Dallas; Aug., 2012).

I began understanding on a deeper level my primary responsibilities were to love Jesus with all my heart, and to love and cherish Cathy as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25-27). I acknowledged my professional life was important, but it paled in significance to the importance of my investments into the lives of Cathy and our children. There was a definite change in our marriage relationship but changes of that magnitude come slow.

Our involvement into the ministry at First Baptist Church deepened, and reached its’ peak during the pastorate of Dr. Mark Coppenger from 1983 to 1988.Those years marked our greatest spiritual growth to that point. We also became involved in the ministry of The International Congress on Revival (ICR) under Evangelist Bill Stafford’s leadership and together made many overseas mission trips to Brazil, Western and Eastern Europe and Ireland. We were extremely blessed to have my sister Marilyn and husband George Berry from Austin, Texas involved also in the ICR ministry, and we made many of the overseas mission trips together with them. Our love for them and the relationship with them, their children and grandchildren deepened during those years of ministry.

In 1989 Cathy and I moved our church membership from the First Baptist Church to Immanuel Baptist Church in El Dorado, and for the next 10 years were immersed into our ministry there. The most exciting times there were during the pastorate of Dr. David Uth in the mid-1990’s when Immanuel Baptist had its’ greatest growth period. David’s wife Rachel is the daughter of brother Berry Lee and his wife LaNell, so our connection to Brother David and Rachel was even closer and sweeter. We were honored to have Brother David officiate the weddings of each of our children; John Aaron to Gina Ratcliff in 1990; Mary Kay to Dave Janke in 1992; and Ginny to John Luther in 1995.

One of the more difficult times for us occurred in 1999 when we felt called to move to Largo, Florida and the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks where I served as the initial medical director of the church’s medical clinic. I wrote extensively on this blog concerning our Florida ministry. (“God Will Make a Way” -Our Ministry in Florida; Apr. 2016). The stress of being so far away from our children and grandchildren during that 8 month period drew Cathy and me closer together causing each of us to depend upon the other more and cherish our life more together.

We were thrilled to make our next move in May, 2000 to Fayetteville, Arkansas where our Ginny and husband John Luther lived and to become more fully vested in their family. It was there I began serving as a wound care specialist at Washington Regional Medical Center, and was able to spend much more time at home with Cathy. I no longer had night call or weekend call, and the physical and emotional stresses of a busy surgical practice were lifted. Our home was a beautiful energy-efficient home which was a model all-electric home built by Ozarks Electric Company. We were told we were getting a “Cadillac home” at a “Chevrolet price” which was certainly the case. For the first time in our marriage Cathy had a new home which she could decorate exactly according to her taste, and I loved our Fayetteville home more than all the others. It was located in a new subdivision west of town and a short 5-8 minute drive to Ginny and John’s home which was located in Savoy.

A huge highlight of our time in Fayetteville was the birth of Ginny and John’s first child and their only daughter, Claire on August 19, 2001. It was so fun watching her grow and develop and for us to have the opportunity and time to be part of her early years. Fayetteville is a short 2 hour drive to Branson, Missouri where daughter Mary Kay, husband Dave Janke and their 2 daughters Rebecca and Sara Beth lived, and we frequently made the drive there for weekend visits.

Cathy and I were well-settled in Fayetteville and wonderfully happy with our life, but an unusual turn of events happened which turned our hearts toward another move; this time to Branson, Missouri. (The Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks– Part 3; Dec., 2012). Friends and even some family members wondered if Cathy and I would ever settle down in one place. A church member and friend in El Dorado at Immanuel Baptist Church asked our son John the question, “Where are your parents living now?!

With considerable prayer and some agonizing Cathy and I believed it God’s will to move to Branson in November 2005 where I would be the sole Director of the Wound Care Clinic of Skaggs Memorial Hospital. More importantly we would be near our kids and grandkids living there. Our plans were to spend a “few years” in Branson, retire from medical practice and return to Fayetteville for the final days of our journey. At the time of our decision I told Ginny through tears, “Mom and I will return– this move is not permanent — I promise!”

— to be continued.

Dr. John






50th Anniversary

“Thee I Love” — Part 1

Bride and Groom: Aug. 7, 1965


As a young man having just received his M.D. degree from the University of Arkansas in June, 1964 I set out for Atlanta, Georgia for my internship at Grady Memorial Hospital having no idea the events of the next 12 months would alter my life forever.

The University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock is a good school but is relatively small in patient numbers, and I was looking for a larger training facility with thousands of patients annually. One of my top choices was Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, but fortunately my visit there was in December, and I immediately knew I couldn’t tolerate the extreme winter weather of Chicago. In just a few months after arriving in Atlanta I would discover the wisdom of my choice.

One of my best friends throughout college and medical school was Dan Moore, and he also decided to train at Grady in Atlanta (“the Gradies”). Dan had been married for several years, and his wife Marsha got a job teaching at an elementary school in DeKalb county. After a month or so she began telling me about “a beautiful girl she taught school with” who would be a good match for me. Marsha was always trying to find a good date for me, so I put off pursuing this latest prospect. After about a month of her prodding with no response from me, she said she was giving up on me and recommending her as a date for a pediatrician friend. I reluctantly agreed to go on a double date with the Moore’s. When I went to her apartment door to meet her, and she said she was “Cathy Young” I was immediately taken by her beauty and charm and couldn’t believe she had agreed to go out with me! Marsha had been telling her nice things about me which probably weren’t all true. Our first date was to a well-known pub for young people, and I discovered this type of place was not to her liking, so our next date was to church!

We continued dating over the next month, and I became certain Cathy was the perfect one for me, if she would have me. In November, 1964 I proposed marriage to her and she accepted! There were 2 major obstacles for our setting an exact wedding date. I had to be accepted into a 4 year surgical training program and then had to get a deferment for 4 years from active duty in the Air Force. The war in Vietnam was escalating in 1964 and the military was commissioning all doctors into service unless they were in an advanced specialty training program. Fortunately I was accepted into the L.S.U. Surgical program at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and within a month I received a Berry Plan Deferment for 4 years! (See blog post; “A Life Changing Letter” ; Oct..2013). We set the wedding date for August 7, 1965 which was 1 month after beginning my surgical training in New Orleans.

Our wedding was beautiful and especially meaningful because Cathy’s Dad, George Young who was the premier building contractor in Fort Lauderdale had just completely remodeled Park Temple Methodist Church. Our wedding was the first event in that gorgeous church. I was in such a groom’s state of mind I don’t remember much of the actual ceremony! I do know I had the words “Thee I Love” inscribed in her wedding band, and I promised to love her unconditionally until death separated us! Our honeymoon was simply driving to New Orleans to our new first home with a few stops scheduled on the way. On my salary of $125 per month in Atlanta as an intern, we didn’t have much surplus cash for a more elaborate honeymoon!

Out first home was in Bissonet Plaza Apartments in Metairie, Louisiana which was about a 15 minute drive from Charity Hospital. Cathy got a job teaching 5th graders in an elementary school in nearby Kenner, and her income was our primary financial source since I was making only $175 per month at Charity Hospital. On our 1 month anniversary date Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans, and I have written two blog posts about the harrowing experiences of that event. (The Wedding Gift We Didn’t Want; Aug, 2012; The Elevator Operator Aug. 2012).

We had many memorable experiences from our 4 New Orleans years, but none surpass the birth of our first child, John Aaron born on July 7, 1967. At the time we lived in a subdivision on the West Bank, and two of our neighbors and close friends were John and Jean Boyd. They were a retired couple in their 60’s from upstate New York, and became surrogate parents for us in addition to being wonderful friends.

Our next move was in 1969 when I went on active duty in the Medical Corps of the  Air Force, and we were stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia. I was the only surgeon assigned to the hospital which gave me the freedom to set my own schedule and have the independence very close to a private practice situation. During those 2 years the most significant event was the birth of our second child, Mary Katharine (Mary Kay) on February 10, 1970. I have written an account of her birth in an earlier post (A Birthing at Moody Air Force Base Hospital; Feb.,2015). We lived in a neighborhood in town with lots of kids and playmates for our children, and were able to enjoy a number of freedoms we had not previously experienced. We decided early on when we began having children Cathy would stop teaching school and stay at home with our children. The additional income from the Air Force of a major’s salary allowed us financially to do well on my income alone.

While in South Georgia an additional family benefit was to travel the 6 hours drive down Interstate 75 to Cathy’s parent’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was such a blessing for all of us during those years to spend time with all of Cathy’s family, including her brother George, his wife Dawn and their 2 children Jenifer and George. Cathy’s sister Nancy and son Clay lived in central Florida, and we were able to spend some time with them also. I was fortunate to have been permanently stationed at Moody Air Force Base the entire time since the Vietnam War was in full force and many of my medical colleagues were sent to the front lines to provide care for the wounded.

When I was discharged from active duty in the Air Force in August 1971, Cathy and I  made the decision to move to El Dorado, Arkansas to establish our home and where I could begin my surgical practice in partnership with my brother Berry Lee who had been a Family Doctor there since 1957. I would like to say we had spent many hours in prayer trying to decide our next steps, but we were simply good church members and not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. We had spent hours discussing the pros and cons of life in El Dorado, but prayer was not the central focus of our decision-making process at the time.

— to be continued.

Dr. John






50th Anniversary




Brother Mose Serves The Garden Club


Welch’s Jelly Glasses

Brother Mose

I have written several stories about my wonderful childhood friend and teacher Mose Graham. In the racially segregated 1950’s one almost always addressed a Black-American by his first name and seldom ever used the courtesy titles Mr. or Mrs. Our family loved and respected Mose Graham so much we always called him “Brother Mose.” I never heard anyone ever address him as Mr. Mose, and I feel certain he never heard it either.

His responsibilities at our home included yard maintenance and heavy-duty housework such as moving furniture or any objects too heavy for Sister Bobbie and generally assisting in any inside work Mom thought necessary. He occasionally would stay after hours to guard my sister Marilyn and me when needed, but this was rare. In remembering his activities and actions Brother Mose never sat in any chair in the house except in the kitchen while having lunch. He never even considered using one of the 3 bathrooms inside the house, but he and Sister Bobbie had the use of a small room attached to our home which we called “the servant’s quarters” which contained a bed, a chair, a small lavatory and a toilet. They used the servant’s quarters for short rest periods during their workdays which was usually 7-8 hours.

As a young boy I never understood why Brother Mose wouldn’t use a bathroom in our home or sit beside me at the table when I was eating alone in the breakfast room. On many occasions while having his meal in the kitchen I invited him to join me at the breakfast room table, but he politely refused by saying, “That’s alright Master. I’m jes’ fine right here.” He and Sister Bobbie called me “Master” not because they were ordered or I demanded, but because they loved me  and had given me that moniker much like a nick-name. In the beginning I was embarrassed by the name but accepted it as a loving name from them.

When Mom would have a social event at our home with ladies from her garden club or from the church she depended on Brother Mose to arrange the furniture and make certain everything was clean and orderly. As the ladies arrived he remained in the background and usually in the kitchen while they were there just in case Mom needed any extra help. He never mingled with the ladies nor interacted socially with any of them although most of them knew him by name. He never wore a special white jacket for any event, but always his usual work clothes, and the picture above is how I remember he dressed every day. He liked suspenders, and I don’t recall him ever wearing a belt.

On this particular occasion Mom had invited her garden club to our home for their monthly meeting. I assume the meeting place was rotated to the homes of the members, because she didn’t have the garden club in our home very often. As the ladies arrived Mom had some cookies and small cakes on the living room table where the meeting would occur but did not have any drinks on the table. When she asked if anyone would like a drink the first lady responded with, “I would love a glass of water”, the other ladies responded in kind. Mom went back into the kitchen and asked Brother Mose if he would bring a tray of glasses of water for the 8 ladies in the living room. “Yes’um, I’ll be glad to.”

Mom noted it took Brother Mose an unusually long time to bring the water but didn’t go back into the kitchen to check on his reason for delay. When he finally arrived in the dining room with the water Mom knew the reason. She said Brother Mose had gone into her cabinet and found one of her large Sterling silver trays, but when he saw the tray it needed cleaning, so he took the time to completely clean the tray with silver polish. Right in the midst of the beautifully polished tray were 8 of what Brother Mose considered our finest serving glasses, Welch’s Jelly glasses! In those days Welch’s Grape Jelly came in a colorfully decorated glass so when the jar was empty, it could be washed and used as an orange juice glass for children. My sister Marilyn and I loved having our juice each morning in a Welch’s glass.

When Mom saw the glasses she quietly and politely asked Brother Mose if he would exchange those colorful glasses for plain glasses which the ladies would prefer. I actually believe they would have enjoyed having their water while looking at those classic Disney characters, and might have even compared characters with each other. Brother Mose was so beloved by all of us Mom never corrected him in his choice of glasses, and he probably continued thinking he was serving the ladies with our very finest. He was such a kind and unpretentious man!

Dr. John