John Greer McBratney, 93

Dec 4, 2018

John Greer McBratney, MD, 93, of Dartmouth, died suddenly at home on November 30, 2018. He was the beloved husband of Elizabeth Ingwersen McBratney, to whom he had been married for 68 years.

Greer was born in Montclair, NJ, the son of William Edgar McBratney and Sarah Canavan Greer-Galway McBratney, immigrants from Australia and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Greer enlisted in the United States Army at age 17 and was stationed in Italy during World War II as a communications linesman in the 3rd Battalion 349th Infantry 88th Division. He attained the rank of Sergeant and earned the Bronze Star Medal, the European Theatre of Operation Medal, and the Combat Infantry Medal. He later enlisted in the National Guard and rose to the rank of Major before his honorable discharge.

He earned a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin and his MD from Western Reserve University Medical School under the GI Bill in 1952.

Based on childhood memories of idyllic summers spent on Mishaum Point, Greer settled in South Dartmouth. He was a respected surgeon and physician at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, where he practiced medicine for almost 40 years. He was a member of the New England Surgical Society, the American Medical Association, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

He volunteered as a surgeon in developing countries throughout the world, serving two-month stints with Project Hope in three different countries and volunteering twice at a civilian hospital in Vietnam in the 1960s and twice at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti.

Conservation and preservation of farmland were important to him throughout his life. He was one of the founding members of the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT), and he donated hundreds of acres of land to the town of Dartmouth. He was an avid gardener throughout his life and became a beekeeper in retirement. More recently he was a passionate supporter of the Wamsutta Club.

In addition to his wife, Greer leaves behind five loving children: John McBratney and his wife Betsy of Chardon, OH; Susan Powell and her husband Matt of Scarborough, ME; Annie Stickney and her husband Andy of Cape Elizabeth, ME; Peggy Gildersleeve and her husband Mark of Dartmouth; and James McBratney and his wife Lea of Dartmouth. He was the proud grandfather of 14 and had 10 great grandchildren. Additionally, he leaves behind his older brother, William Edgar McBratney of Lynchburg, VA, and many devoted nieces and nephews. His son, Peter, predeceased him, as did two grandsons and his younger brother, Robert Bruce McBratney.

A celebration of life will be held on February 2, 2019, at noon at the Wamsutta Club, 427 County St, New Bedford, MA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his honor may be made to the DNRT (PO Box 70567, Dartmouth, MA 02747) or the Arnold House (427 County St., New Bedford, MA 02740).

Arrangements are in the care of the Waring-Sullivan Home at Dartmouth. For online registration, visit: