Buddy Brantley mourned

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 8, 2003

The Pike County community was saddened by the death of Dr. Buddy Brantley on Thursday night.

Word quickly spread that the long-time and much beloved doctor had died and immediately those with whom he worked and those for whom he had provided medical service and caring began to recall the impact &uot;Dr. Buddy&uot; had on their lives and the community.

At Edge Regional Medical Center, the loss was deeply felt.

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Although Brantley retired from practice in 2000 for health reasons, he had been a member of the medical community since 1975 and his influence continued to be a presence even in his absence.

&uot;There will never be another Dr. Buddy Brantley,&uot; said John Crosby, MD. &uot;I have never known a doctor who was more caring and who was more unselfish with his time. He never refused to see a patient who needed him. It would never have crossed his mind not to go where he was need. No matter what the circumstances, he always tried his best. He always gave his best.&uot;

Jennifer Ventress, chief nursing office at ERMC, said Friday had been a difficult day.

&uot;Dealing with the loss of someone that we had worked so closely with and someone we cared so deeply about is very hard,&uot; Ventress said. &uot;We mourn the loss of Dr. Buddy Brantley and want to express our deepest sympathy and concern to his family.&uot;

Ventress said Brantley was the first doctor in Pike County to practice with a specialty in internal medicine. He also specialized in cardiology.

&uot;Buddy came home to practice medicine with his dad, Dr. J.A. Brantley,&uot; she said. &uot;He saw patients from all across the county and he consulted on almost every heart patient. His patients depended on him, believed in him and trusted him. He was always available for them and they all loved him. He was also well liked and greatly respected by his peers. He was just an outstanding doctor and a wonderful person.&uot;

In addition to his practice, Brantley was medical director of the intensive care unit at ERMC for many years, Ventress said.

&uot;He was chief-of-staff numerous times and served on many medical staff committees,&uot; she said. &uot;Buddy saw many patients at the nursing home and they loved and trusted him and he gave them exceptional care. He was instrumental in recruiting many physicians to Troy and he was very active in his church and in the community. He will be missed by many people in many different ways.&uot;

Brantley was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease in 1997 but continued to practice medicine until his health would no longer allow him to do so. He retired three years after being diagnosed, but, according to family members, continued to research his disease to find new treatments and options that might be available to him.

&uot;He never complained and was never unhappy about the diagnosis,&uot; said his step-daughter Charlotte Watkins.

&uot;That's just the kind of person he was,&uot; Ventress said. &uot;When Dr. (Alan) Young saw him on Thursday afternoon, he said Buddy was laughing and joking with him. He never seemed to let the disease get him down.&uot;

Dr. Ed Walter, pastor of First Baptist Church Troy, knew Brantley on a very personal level and spoke of his love of and compassion for people.

&uot;Buddy was a man of faith,&uot; Walter said. &uot;He loved God and he demonstrated that love in the way he lived his life. Buddy loved people; he loved his family and he loved his patients. He served God through his profession as a medical doctor.&uot;

Walter said Brantley was one of the most brilliant people he has ever known.

&uot;He was so brilliant, yet so humble,&uot; Walter said. &uot;He was one of the most humble people I have ever met. He was a wonderful person.&uot;

Walter said Brantley was a regular at church.

&uot;Buddy didn't miss church unless he was out of town or sick,&uot; he said. &uot;He had a bad day Tuesday and didn't come Wednesday night. I went to see him Thursday night and he, laughingly, told me he would have been at church Wednesday night but Linda wouldn't let him.&uot;

Walter said Brantley was in an excellent frame of mind when he visited with him.

&uot;His body was failing but he maintained his usual composure and dignity,&uot; Walter said. &uot;His love just kept coming through. And, as always, he was smiling.&uot;

Walter said he had prayer with Brantley just a few hours before his death.

&uot;We prayed together - Buddy, Linda, my wife and me,&uot; he said. &uot;We laughed together before we left. It was a precious time together for us. We will all miss Buddy Brantely.&uot;