Dr. George Marvin Bilbrey Jr., a doctor who performed the second open-heart surgery in Asheville, died Feb. 9. He was 81.

Bilbrey, a cardiothoracic surgeon, started his practice in Asheville in 1971. He served twice as chief of staff at Mission Hospitals, and also served on the boards of Mission Health System, Mission Hospitals and Mission Medical Associates.

Bilbrey was also an active supporter of community organizations, such as the Asheville Symphony, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteered his time at the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry clinic.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends at the church after the service.

 

From Bilbrey’s obituary:

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Greater Western Carolinas Chapter, 205 Regency Executive Park Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217 (www.jdrf.org); the Mission Health Systems Foundation (designated to the heart program), 890 Hendersonville Rd. #300, Asheville, NC 28803 (www.missionphilanthropy.org); or the Asheville Symphony Society, P.O. Box 2852, Asheville, NC 28802 (www.ashevillesymphony.org).

Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent through the website www.morrisfamilyfuneralhome.com.

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