John Greer McBratney MD

October 6, 1925November 30, 2018

John Greer McBratney, MD, age 93 of Dartmouth, died suddenly at home on Friday, 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 .

At the age of 17 and still in high school, Greer enlisted in the United States Army 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.

After the war and under the GI Bill, he received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin and earned his Doctor of Medicine from Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland, OH, 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.

His 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, please visit:


2 February

Celebration of Life

12:00 pm

Wamsutta Club

427 County St.
New Bedford, MA 02748


John Greer McBratney MD

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bruce Collins

December 10, 2018

Our family was, thankfully, closely inter-woven with the McBratney's growing up. Dr. McB was always caring, interested, and interesting. He was enthusiastic about and accomplished in so many areas of study. He never stopped learning, did not shy away from commitment and responsibility and always helped folks around him. He purposely made the world a better place because of things he did. In short, he was incredible and we will miss him. We send our love to the McBratney family. Our condolences, Bruce and Kim Collins

John Collins

December 9, 2018

I was fortunate to grow up spending countless days with Dr McB and his wonderful family. As a kid he and my dad were literal and figurative giants and I enjoyed listening to their stories—I miss Greer’s big Ha-Ha laugh. He was such a genuine, no nonsense man of great talent (got stitches from him once) but also incredibly giving of his time to people in need around the world. Much love to all the McBratneys. John, Michele, Rachel and Abby

Holly Reilly

December 8, 2018

Our deepest condolences to the McBratney family. John was such an interesting and accomplished man, whose legacy lives on in his wonderful children and their families. With love from Holly and Mike Reilly

Faith Sweetser Barry

December 8, 2018

Dr. McB, one of the finest people I have ever known. So many memories over so many years and three generations of my family. A man of honor, talent, generosity, humor and speed! Thank you Greer.

Jim Collins

December 6, 2018

Dr McBratney was my neighbor and a great friend of my parents. I always appreciated his straightforward, no-nonsense style. He was truly an individualist. I have wonderful childhood memories of camping, canoeing, and especially skiing with Greer and his terrific family. I was also fortunate enough to be his patient. He stitched me up at least once.

They really don't make many like him anymore! We will all miss you.


Bruce C. Ditata

December 6, 2018

Growing up in Dartmouth in the 1960s and 70s, I knew -basically everyone knew - of the prowess and pre-eminence of Dr. John Greer McBratney, as a local surgeon .
He practiced that healing art, according to his obituary, for nearly forty years at New Bedford’s Saint Luke’s Hospital. Having worked as a unit assistant at St.Luke’s from 70-72, my information about the skill of Dr. McBratney was augmented by first hand knowledge submitted by nursing staff there.
Ahead of his time, Dr. McBratney, advocated for post-surgical patients to be up and about... then out of the hospital quickly... innovative then... commonplace now.
The knowledge of Dr. McBratney and his stellar reputation assisted me, personally, during the holiday season of 1984-85 after an extraordinary eating binge landed me at the Dartmouth Medical Walk-In with severe stomach discomfort. The attending physician, matter-of-factly asked,
“Who is your surgeon?”
Of course, I had no surgeon... but I told the doctor, I wished to be examined by Dr. McBratney, so an appointment was booked the next day.
Dr. Bratney entered my room as I waited on the gurney and he breezily queried,
“Are you the fellow with the bellyache?”
He then explored my abdominal area with his skilled surgeon’s hands and announced that medicine... not surgery would alleviate the discomfort...My
emergency was over and knowing the glowing credentials of Dr. McBratney, I knew the diagnosis was spot on.
My condolences to my classmate Susan,the entire McBratney family and friends of Dr. John Greer McBratney, a true healer and icon of Greater New Bedford medicine.

Debbie Honohan Soares

December 5, 2018

Dear Mc Bratney Family,
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970’s . Your father treated her with such compassion and dignity. She would not see another doctor because she loved him and his care. When she passed at the age of 44 your dad shared in our grief. Shortly after her death your dad treated me and never sent a bill. When I asked him why he told me it was because he wanted to help me in my mom’s memory. I never forgot his kind heart. He will be truly missed. I send all of you prayers and sympathy and to say thank you for your dad.
Debbie Honohan Soares

Doug Davenport

December 4, 2018


Priscilla Maynard

December 4, 2018

I was so sorry to hear of Dr. McBratney's passing. I pray for all of the family during this particularly difficult time.
Sincerest Sympathies,
Priscilla Maynard
Mocksville, NC

nancy starr

December 4, 2018

deepest sympathy to the McBratney family.I worked with him at St.Luke's for many years
He was an amazing doctor and person.He will be missed by many.