HomeHealthMedicineHerbert Bernie Orr, M.D. | The Cleveland Daily Banner

Herbert Bernie Orr, M.D. | The Cleveland Daily Banner

Herbert Bernie Orr, MD, died of cancer on Sunday, November 13, 2022. He turned 85.

He was one of the last general practitioners. In the early days of his career, he performed surgeries, delivered babies, and performed routine physicals. Later, as medicine became more specialized, he focused on internal medicine, mainly in general practice.

While medicine was important to him, his Christian faith was even more important to him. His faith was the foundation of his life; his medicine was a form of ministry. Later in life, he also wrote books and pamphlets and became an avid letter writer, all with the goal of spreading the message of Jesus Christ.

He was born in Chattanooga in 1937 to Melvin Orr and Gladys Chase Orr. His early childhood was spent on the family farm in Polk County, where he learned to love nature, especially flowers. After his father’s untimely death when he was 8, the family moved to Cleveland. He graduated from high school in Cleveland and then attended Carson-Newman College on a scholarship, where he studied chemistry. From there, he attended medical school at the University of Tennessee at Memphis.

At UT-Memphis he met Patricia Wood. She came to college to study chemistry, and the Baptist Student Union was looking for volunteers to greet her. It wasn’t long before he decided he wanted to marry the smart, beautiful Mississippi woman. The couple married in December 1962, just after he completed his medical school.

He spent his internship at Baroness Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. After his internship, he served with the United States Public Health Service, providing medical care through the Indian Health Service on Minnesota’s Red Lake Reservation. His first son, Melvin, was born during his service. After discharge, he moved to Mobile where he did a residency in general surgery at Mobile General Hospital. After residency, the family moved to Monte Vista, Colorado, where he worked in private practice and also served as a physician for an American Baptist clinic. His daughter, Rachel, and second son, Flint, were born in Colorado at that time.

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The family moved to Mobile in 1977 as members of the Gulf Coast Covenant Church and he went to work for Family Medical. He stopped taking medicine at the age of 65. His later years in the profession were difficult, in part due to his own medical issues. More rewarding was his time as a volunteer at the Home of Grace for Women, for which he eventually received a plaque for his years of Christian ministry, love and service.

His passions included music – anyone who ever attended a church service with him knows that, for he sang very loudly, very flatly and with great conviction – and his flowers. When his grandchildren came to visit, he was quick to share his hibiscus, camellias, and petunias with them. He shared his crystal collection, specimens he had grown himself. They also learned about the possum for which he left pieces at the back gate.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his sisters, Melva and Margarett.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia; his sons, Melvin and Flint; his daughter Rachel; his sisters, Joyce Bush and Gwen Goforth; several cousins; and his grandchildren, Walker Orr, Miguel Orr, Olivia Orr, Barra Peak, Eben Peak, and Vivian Peak.

Services were held on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at the Mobile Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 6040 Three Notch Road, Mobile, AL 36619.

The visitation began at 11:00 AM and continued until the chapel service began at 12:00 PM.

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