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Dr. George's Story

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George Curtis Barber, beloved husband, father, and Family Physician, died October 17, 2017, at UK Medical Center in Lexington after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 82. He was born February 1, 1935, in Mt. Sterling, KY, to the late Woodrow and Mabel Williams Barber. He grew up and attended school in West Liberty, KY, and graduated as Valedictorian from Morgan County High School in 1952. He went on to attend the University of Kentucky, graduating with a degree in Physiology, with honors, in 1956. While there, he married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Haney in 1954. They were married 45 years until her death in 1999 and have four sons, Mark, Jeff, David and Michael.

Dr. Barber attended Bowman-Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest College, graduating in 1960, where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He served a rotating internship at William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, TX. He then completed a residency in Aviation Medicine. After his flight training, Captain Barber served as an Army Flight Surgeon at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve for 6 years after he left active duty in 1963.

Dr. Barber settled his family in Morehead, KY, opening a general practice in 1963, the same year St. Claire Medical Center opened. His practice initially included obstetrics, and he estimated that he delivered nearly 1,000 babies over 12 years. In 1971, Dr. Barber became a Diplomate of the new specialty Board of Family Practice. He was elected as a Charter Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, attaining six 6-year re-certifications and served as KY District Director for 6 years. He also served multiple terms as the Chairman of the Rowan Country Medical Society.

In 1975, Dr. Barber joined the Morehead Clinic multi-specialty group practice. Along with his long-time Physician's Assistant, Jerry Newman, he continued serving Rowan and surrounding counties as a family doctor until his retirement. During his long medical career, he served as Chief of Staff of St. Claire Medical Center four times, and served several terms as Chair of the Department of Medicine. He also served as Medical Director at the Daniel Boone Nursing Home and was Chairman of the Rowan County Board of Health for 30 years. In his early years, he also pitched in as an ER physician at the hospital. He was one of the six original staff physicians at St. Claire. Dr. Barber was highly regarded by his colleagues as a diagnostician and by his patients as a kind, knowledgeable family doctor, always there when they needed him. For 25 years, he served UK Medical School as a Field Faculty Preceptor in Family Medicine where he mentored numerous students and residents.

All his life, Dr. Barber was a great supporter of Morehead State University and served that institution in many capacities. Notably, he was Medical Director of the Morehead State University Student Health Service for 25 years and served a stint as Team Doctor for MSU Athletics. He was also the long-time Facility Physician for adolescent girls at the Morehead Treatment Center.

Dr. Barber supported many community endeavors during his years in Morehead, including the Kiwanis Club, Little League Baseball and the Sister Cities Program started by his wife, Joyce. After 41 years of providing care to families, he retired in 2004 to enjoy his hobbies. Even during retirement he found time to volunteer at the People's Free Clinic in Morehead before finally "retiring" at the age of 80.

Dr. Barber was truly a Renaissance man. He traveled widely and loved to take cruise ship vacations. His travels included many destinations in Europe, Central and South America, and the South Pacific. Dr. Barber was a renowned ballroom dancer. His friends agree that he was always the first one on the dance floor and last to leave. While traveling, he loved to dance, and frequently was noticed by fellow travelers, cruise ship directors and band members for his dancing prowess. A long-time numismatist, Dr. Barber had a deep range of knowledge about coins of the world, and enjoyed collecting and trading coins dating from ancient to modern times. He also enjoyed swimming, tennis, and classical music, especially Spanish guitar music. He reveled in completing the New York Times Crossword every day.

During his later years, he wintered with his wife and good friends in Titusville, FL, where he owned a second home. After fully retiring from practice, he and Cheryl moved to Versailles, KY, where they were surrounded by beautiful horse farms. Dr. Barber was a life-long UK fan, frequently expressing his joy during basketball season and frustration during football season.

He is survived by his loving wife and dance partner of the last 18 years, Cheryl Shaw Barber; sons Mark (Martha) Barber of Atlanta, GA, Jeffrey (Jeanne) Barber of Boulder, CO, David (Lisa) Barber of Atlanta, GA, Michael Barber of Lexington, KY; stepson, Eric Caudill of Cincinnati, OH; grandsons Alan (Gillian) Barber of Boulder, CO, and Jacob Barber of Ivel, KY; a sister, Janie Barber Kissling (Ron) of Atlanta, GA; sisters-in-law, Nancy Lakes (John) of Lexington, KY and Jenny Paxson (Chris and daughter Tori) of Union, KY; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Dr. Barber was preceded in death by his parents, Woodrow and Mabel Williams Barber, and his first wife and mother of his children, Joyce Haney Barber.

Visitation will be held from 12 noon until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2017, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals. A celebration of Dr. Barber's life will begin at 2:30 p.m. with family and friends presiding. Burial will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens with full military honors presented by Morehead American Legion Post 126.

Pallbearers: Jamie Mason, Dr. Ewell Scott, Dr. Ed Scott, Mike Newton, Aubrey "Sonny" Mooney, Rob Kissling, Kurt Kissling, Randy Gilkerson. Honorary pallbearers: Dr. Troy Burchett and Dr. Hunter Black.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Saint Claire Foundation, the Woodrow Barber Scholarship Endowment Fund at MSU, or the charity of one's choice.

View memorial tribute or sign guestbook at www.northcuttandson.com
Published on October 19, 2017
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