Bruce Barton, who was known to many in the community as, “Dr. Bruce,” died at his home Tuesday morning at age 78 from pancreatic cancer.
The Williamsburg native practiced family medicine with his brother, Don, in Corbin for more than 30 years.
“Because they were both, ‘Dr. Barton,’ he was, ‘Dr. Bruce’ to his patients,” Barton’s son, Todd explained.
Barton practiced medicine until he was forced to retire in 1999 because of health problems.
“He would spend hours at the doctor’s office,” Todd said of his father adding that he worked as a team with his wife of 56 years, Arlene. “He made sure everyone had the opportunity to see him and be heard about any issues. He knew his patients personally. A lot of them were friends.”
Bruce’s nephew, Gary Barton, said his uncle was just a fun person to be around.
“He was just a great story teller,” Gary Barton said.
When asked what he would miss most about his uncle, Gary said Bruce was the type of person you felt you could go to when you need advice or just needed to talk.
“He was a special person,” Gary Barton said.
In addition to his medical practice, Bruce Barton was on staff at the old Corbin Hospital, rising to chief of staff and serving in that position when the new facility opened on Cumberland Falls Hwy.
Barton was involved in the community in a number of ways.
He was a founding partner of the former Tri-County National Bank in Corbin with Terry Forcht and Nelda Barton-Collins.
He was a real stateman. A very gentile gentleman,” Forcht said of Barton. “We are really sorry to hear about his passing.”
Bruce’s son, Todd, said that in his spare time, his dad had a number of interests, including hunting and fishing, traveling with Arlene, and race horses.
Bruce had been turkey hunting earlier this year with his son, and grandsons.
He had traveled all over the world with his wife, including Africa, Russia and Spain.
He owned race horses, and had horses run in the Breeders Cup, at Saratoga, Belmont, and Gulf Stream Park.
“He had a horse run in the biggest race in Japan,” Todd said.
“He was watching the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks just a few weeks ago.”
Todd said his dad was also heavily involved at Shiner Church of Christ on U.S. 25W, serving as an elder in the church.
The family had a place out in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
“We are going to scatter his ashes in the mountains,” Todd said.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said he is saddened at the loss of his friend, Bruce.
“Anyone lucky enough to know Bruce could see the compassionate heart he wore on his sleeve. Even through his health challenges, Bruce’s deep faith and unyielding kindness shined. He will be remembered as a devoted caregiver and a faithful friend. Elaine and I send our sincere condolences to Arlene, Bruce’s loving wife of more than 50 years, and to the entire Barton family during this difficult time,” McConnell said.