Lives of the fellows

John Ley Greaves

b.26 July 1918 d.15 May 1987
MRCS LRCP( 1941) MB BS Lond(1941) MRCP(1947) MD(1948) FRCP(1971)

John Greaves was consultant physician at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester, and the Southampton General Hospital. He came from a distinguished medical family in Derby, where his father had been a surgeon. He graduated from St Thomas’s Hospital and for the next five years was commissioned in the Royal Air Force, serving in Britain and the Far East. He returned to St Thomas’s to develop his career in medicine and quickly gained his membership of the College and his MD. He became increasingly attracted to children’s medicine and in 1948 was appointed to Sir James Spence’s unit in Newcastle [Munk's Roll, Vol.V, p.386]. After a spell at Great Ormond Street as resident assistant physician he became consultant paediatrician at Middlesborough in 1952.

After 11 years of devoted single-handed service on Tees-side, John returned south with consultant appointments at the Winchester and Southampton hospitals, where he remained until his retirement in 1978. He was a paediatrician with an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject, meticulous in his clinical standards and unfailing in his courtesy and sensitivity to his patients and their families. Nor was it ever long before those around him became aware of his gentle and ready sense of humour.

Despite his busy professional life, John took an active interest in local affairs; in the musical life of the neighbourhood and in service to Winchester Cathedral. But perhaps he was never happier than with his wife Elizabeth, sharing their beautiful and varied garden with a few friends and regaling them with accounts of some of his more recent exotic acquisitions. He could also turn his hand to skilled cabinet making and his much used music cabinet was a piece of beauty and ingenuity.

In retirement, near Alton, although dogged by ill health he was never far from the centre of the village activities, and he once more developed another lovely garden from which his many friends were able to enjoy the wide vistas of the North Hampshire downs, of which he was so fond.

His career spanned and to a great extent reflected the great post war development of paediatrics in this country, and it was fitting that in the last few years of his practice he was able to convey something of this experience to the students at the new medical school in Southampton.

He met his wife Elizabeth Fiennes when she was nursing at St Thomas’s. They married in 1950 and they had four children. It was a marriage of great happiness and John was a devoted father and grandfather. He was survived by his wife and children.

ICS Normand

[Brit.med.J., 1985,295,613]

(Volume VIII, page 195)

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