January 1937 — Minneapolis, Hennepin county, Minnesota
Dr. Willard P. Greene, Minneapolis, for many years senior epidemiologist with the Division of Preventable Diseases of the Minnesota Department of Health, died November 29, 1936, the day following a fall. He was starting on a field trip and had two large packages and a brief case in his hands as he left his office. He tripped at the top of the stairs and fell to the bottom, sustaining a skull fracture.
Dr. Greene was born October 7, 1871, at Hemlock, New York, the son of Dr. Jay Lewis Greene, who was at the Bellevue Hospital, New York, during the Civil War. The father took up country practice in Hemlock and named his son after his favorite professor, Dr. Willard Parker. The father died when his son was but thirteen years old but the association between father and son up to that time stimulated the son to study medicine.
After attending the public schools at Hemlock, D. Greene attended preparatory school at the New York Seminary in Lima, New York, and graduated from the Genesee State Normal School in 1895. For the next five years he taught in grade schools at Caneadea, N.Y., and Fowlerville(Fowlerville?) N.Y., and prepared special students for college. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School at Ann Arbor in 1904.
From 1904 until 1911 Dr. Greene practiced at Washington, D.C., and then joined the Indian Service at White Earth, Minnesota, where he practiced from 1911 to 1913. He became affiliated with the Minnesota State Board of Health, June 1, 1913, and served continuously with the Board except for the period from December 1, 1921, to April 26, 1926, when he was with the Veterans Bureau. The efficient way in which he reported on a typhoid epidemic on the White Earth Reservation when when he was chief surgeon for the Indian Office led to his joining the State Board of Health.
Dr. A.J. Chesley, Executive Officer of the State Board of Health, pays the following tribute to Dr. Greene:
"He was about the best diagnostician on polio, meningitis, encephalitis I ever knew, as he saw nearly all the cases and suspects in Minnesota through all these years of service as Senior Epidemiologist. He never spared himself. Sleep, meals, fatigue, tough cases never cut in on his schedule to get work done. He was always a gentleman, courteous kind and considerate, yet immovable in a matter of right and wrong. Never hurried, never excited, he was never too tired to start out at unholy hours for long hard trips regardless of roads and weather. In the pre-auto days he many times was out two to three weeks at a stretch, getting whatever sleep he could in a livery rig between stops. He never asked a day off, and went without vacation year after year, filling in for others when they were sick or had sickness in their families.
"As a friend, Willard P. Greene was true and dependable. The Chippewa held him in such esteem that a number of times delegations have come from the North to Minneapolis and sometimes waited tow or three days for him to return from some epidemiological trip to ask his advice on personal or tribal matters. What an Indian would not do for him, the most intelligent and well trained loyal collie dog would not do for his master. It was uncanny the way he got people to do right when others who tried failed completely. Behind his soft, slow speech always politely put, he had a will that never weakened and the toughest fellows one ever meets in field work never got the best of D. Greene. You realize what his death means to the old-timer on the staff who have worked with him since June 1, 1913."
Dr. Greene is survived by his widow, Harriet Cranston Greene, a daughter, Lois, and a sister, Mrs. David J. Gibson of Rochester NY. Notes can only be viewed by the owner and by those invited to the tree as an "Editor". Close