On his last day of retirement, Dr. Maurice Barnes consulted patients before and during his move out of his medical practice.
Barnes, 69, was a mainstay, sought-after gastroenterology specialist for the past 39 years at what is currently TriStar Summit Medical Center at 3651 Frist Blvd. in Hermitage.
His wife, Julia Barnes, has worked in the office for years and said last week her husband had a wonderful bon voyage retirement reception and was caught up on the main entry of the hospital, hugging and saying goodbye to patients and friends.
Maurice Barnes said he started out practice in the “old Donelson Hospital.”
The couple lived in Old Hickory for seven years, but they currently live in Oak Hill.
“I have two adult children and one grandchild with another on the way,” said Maurice Barnes.
His specialty dealt with such things as digestive diseases, liver, stomach colonoscopies and more for nearly four decades.
He started at Donelson Hospital on a part-time fellowship two days a week. And after nearly four decades, he’s going to retire, but he will still keep his doctor’s hat on as a mentor and teacher in Memphis on a regular basis.
“It’s a great way to keep in the game and work with others,” he said.
During his decades in the practice, Maurice Barnes said he’s seen the evolution of medical progression. He said he likes the complexity of the diseases, combined with medicines and procedures.
“There are so many more, much better tests and therapies now,” he said. “Things are so much more effective now.”
It runs in the family. Barnes’ son, Matthew, has six months before he is certified for the same profession as his father. He followed in his father’s footsteps and will begin practice in South Carolina.
Maurice Barnes said he stayed his entire professional doctor career in Donelson because, “It was exploding, and I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to add to the abilities of this city.”
His first grandchild is 3 ½ years old, and his second is due in January. It’s about finding some spare time to spend with his family.
“Though I am quitting private practice, I still will be a mentor and teacher,” he said.
Traveling was put on hold while he practiced in Donelson, and his wife worked in the office. They tended to work, not play.
They plan to travel, spend time with grandchildren and teach on the side to mentor the next generation.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said as he paused from packing up his office to still see last-minute patients who wanted his last moments. “It’s a time of transition. It’s been fun, and it’s been hard to say goodbye. This is a new journey.”