Brantley Barnard Pace, M.D.
Brantley Barnard Pace, M.D. – beloved husband, devoted father, and esteemed physician in Mississippi – died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Known simply as Doc, his life was deeply etched by his faith, his commitment to hard work in a field that brought him lifelong satisfaction and joy, and his love of family.
The community is invited to a memorial service at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 29, at Monticello Baptist Church. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, April 28, at Riverwood Family Funeral Service in Brookhaven or Saturday in Monticello at a reception in the Family Life Center following the service.
A native of Hattiesburg, Dr. Pace was born May 11, 1933, to Allye Lou Brantley and Thomas Barnard Pace. From a young age, he worked for years in Mr. Stockstill’s grocery store, at the filling station, painted ads on bus benches, and credits his weekly employment with shaping his valued work ethic. At 17, he invited Audria Ann Russell to the Spring Revival at First Baptist Church of Hattiesburg in 1950. They married at age 19, and she has been his devoted wife for 70 years.
Dr. Pace was a 1950 graduate of Hattiesburg High School and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the former Mississippi Southern College. A member of the second graduating class of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Dr. Pace was elected class president his first and second years and earned the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1958. He was profoundly grateful for the experience of working for Dr. Arthur C. Guyton for four years during medical school, doing research and drawing illustrations for the first and second editions of the “Textbook of Medical Physiology” and other works by Dr. Guyton.
He completed his internship at John Sealy Hospital, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, in 1959, where he valued the opportunity of training under talented surgeon and Mississippi native Dr. Truman Blocker.
Dr. Pace and Ann moved to Monticello, where he has been engaged in the practice of medicine for 64 years. A self-described country doctor, he was widely regarded for a combination of native intelligence and personal warmth. Diligent in his pursuit of improving the quality of medical care in his community, Dr. Pace offered unparalleled attention to detail in the lives of his patients. His medical career spanned his weekly house calls in the 1960s to telemedicine in the 21st century, and he never lost his personal touch with patients. He practiced listening carefully and writing personal letters in an age of computer-generated correspondence, frequently offering his own drawings to clarify understanding, and remembering his patients’ birthdays with hand-written notes. He loved serving the people of Lawrence County, who frequently showed their appreciation by sharing fresh eggs, tomatoes, peas, berries, figs, and other produce of their gardens for which he was grateful.
Dr. Pace was honored with the Phillip Rogers Award in Hattiesburg in 2009 for excellence in the delivery of medical care. He was a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine since 1970, having been board-certified upon examination last at age 81, and was an active member of the American Association of Family Practice.
Doc was a life-long learner and enjoyed teaching others about the way things work. An avid fan of auto racing, he earned his professional racing license at age 60 and earned his pilot’s license at age 70. He was proud to be a member of the Flying Octogenarians.
A gifted musician, he sang a resounding bass line in barbershop quartets and in church choirs, but most memorably, Doc filled their home with music, playing hymns, ragtime piano, guitar, and banjo.
He will be remembered as a compassionate physician, beloved mentor and colleague, and true patriot. The events of World War II shaped Doc’s understanding of patriotism as a boy and influenced his lifelong commitment to honoring veterans and sharing their stories. No mention of his life would be complete without paying loving tribute to those who answered the call to serve this country. To them, he gave the highest admiration and respect.
Influenced by fond memories of his mother’s close family of their 14 siblings as well as working closely with Dr. Guyton, Dr. Pace and his wife wanted a large family and gave themselves fully to the task of rearing their seven children.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Ann, and four of their children: Marita Pace Walton (Ben), Jackson; Dr. Thomas B. Pace (Nancy), Greenville, S.C.; Kathryn Pace Phillips (Will), Brookhaven; and Jan Pace Coker (Sam), Ridgeland. Twenty-two grandchildren remember him as their loving Doc: Dr. Bennett Walton (Samantha), Houston; Rhymes Walton Stabler (Prentice), Nashville; Marita Walton Ellis (Reed), Nashville; Anna Pace, Greenville, S.C; Brantley Pace, Sergeant USMC, (Kelley), Denver; Dr. Richard Pace (Katharine), Greenville, S.C.; Dr. Russell Pace (Holly Anne), Hendersonville, N.C.; Josh Parschauer, New York City; Kara Parschauer, Huron, Ohio; Mary Phillips White (Jeffrey), Brookhaven; Anna Kathryn Phillips, Chicago; Margaret Phillips, Nashville; Sarah Phillips Holliday (Ivan), Poplarville; Will Phillips, Brookhaven; Clay Coker, New York City; Lucy Coker Rudow (Grant), Dallas; Joe Coker, Starkville; Mary Coker, Fort Worth; and Virginia, Thomas, Allen and Sonnie Pace, Madison.
Doc also leaves 16 great-grandchildren and a host of cherished family members and dear friends who feel like family. He is survived by his loving sister, Mary Lou Pace Dabbs (Woody), Oxford; and sister-in-law, Brenda Pace, widow of his brother, Maxwell Pace, who died in 2016.
Preceding Dr. Pace in death are his beloved children, Will Pace, who died in 2022; Jim Pace and Lucy Pace Parschauer (Ken), who died in 2020; the wife of his son, Jim, Solange Dibos Pace; as well as his parents.
The Pace family wishes to express their deepest love and gratitude to each of the exceptional healthcare workers who worked alongside Doc for 63 years at Lawrence County Hospital. They likewise thank those co-workers at Lawrence County Nursing Center and St. Luke’s Home Health and Hospice, and extend warmest appreciation to the staff at Hospice Ministries who served during his final days.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.