GREER RICKETSON, M.D.
1917 - 2007
Greer Ricketson was born in Broxton, Georgia. His endearing stories of growing up in a small rural town reflected the roots of the integrity and compassion with which he led his life. He left Broxton to attend Gordon Military College and then came to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee; graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1938. One of his fondest memories of his time as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt was related to his experience as a member of the Vanderbilt Football Squad where he played the position of tackle. During the 1937 Season, the then top-ranked and undefeated LSU Tigers came to Nashville to play Vanderbilt lead by their Governor Hughie Long. Vanderbilt upset LSU on that Saturday with the trick “hidden ball” play and Dr. Ricketson was the one that carried the ball for a touchdown to defeat LSU 7-6.
He then went on to attend Medical School at Duke University receiving his M.D. Degree in 1942. While at Duke, he was the first president of the then new Phi Chi Medical Fraternity. After graduation from Medical School, he served in the U.S. Army as a Captain of the Medical Core and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Following his military service, he returned to Duke and completed his Residency in General Surgery. He then moved to Tulane University for his training in Plastic Surgery under Dr. Neal Owen. After his completion of his Plastic Surgery Training, he practiced with Dr. Owen for one year before returning to Nashville in 1953. Dr. Ricketson had a very busy and successful private practice in Nashville and touched positively the lives of many patients both young and old. Shortly after arriving in Nashville, he became an active member of the Staff of Vanderbilt University Hospital, initially, as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery. He was the one that developed and organized a training program in Plastic Surgery that was eventually headed by Dr. J. B. Lynch. He was promoted to Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery and was given the Honorary Alumnus title of Vanderbilt University Medical School as a result of his efforts in developing the Plastic Surgery Program.
His private practice was located at the Baptist Hospital in Nashville and he served as Chief of Staff at Baptist from 1973-1975. He was a founding member of both the Tennessee and the Southeastern Societies of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and served as President of both of those organizations. He was a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and was elected to Fellowship in the American Association of Plastic Surgery in 1957.
His contributions to the community at large in Nashville were also exemplary. He served on the Public Health Board of the State of Tennessee, the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Crippled Children’s Service.
He was also an outstanding sportsman and conservationist. He was one of the original Directors and past President of the Volunteer State Amateur Field Trial Club. He served a six-year term on the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission and concluded his term as Chairman. He also served as the President of the Tennessee Conservation League and was a Life Member of the Nashville Wild Life Federation. He served as Vice-President and then President of the Nashville Wildlife Federation Endowment.
He remained an active hunter and fisherman up until the last year of his life. He finally succumbed to his battle with prostate cancer on July 31st, 2007; after gracing us with his presence for 90 years. Dr. Ricketson was a trusted advisor, a true friend and an excellent mentor and role model. He will be missed by all who knew him.
R. Bruce Shack, M.D.