Dr. William "Bill" Greer
June 25, 1932 – January 17, 2020
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 25th, 2020 at 12:00 (noon) at First United Methodist Church in New Iberia, LA., with Rev. Scott Bullock and Minister Paul Fontenot officiating, for Dr William Emmette “Doc” “Bill” Greer who heard these words, “Well done, Well done, my beloved child you have run the race and now you’re home,” as he entered into Heaven in the early morning hours of Friday, January 17th, 2020 at the age of 87, at his residence surrounded by his loving family. Bill “Doc” Greer was born on June 25, 1932 in Emory, Georgia to Frank H. and Alma Davis Greer. He was the fourth child and the baby of Frank and Alma’s children which included his siblings Frank Jr., Anne, and George. He was a Southern gentleman through and through and encouraged, inspired, helped, and educated many throughout his life. In the early 1950’s as a college student Bill worked with The Georgia Wildlife & Fisheries. He was part of the team that designed the first animal tranquilizer gun and chemical darting mechanism, gaining great wisdom and education of how to tranquilize fearsome animals harmless while attempting to move them, from wildlife expert Harold “Red” Palmer. Upon graduation from University of Georgia with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, he enlisted full time in the United States Army and served in the Army Medical & Research Corp, working on such research projects as the development of Bone/surgical glue, Operation Hardtack Phase II which was conducted at the Nevada Test Site, and his personal favorite Army assignment working in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force on Project Mercury- the mission to send a Chimpanzee into space. This is where his love for Primates (monkeys) began. In 1958, First Lieutenant Greer met his beloved wife, Cherie, as she was singing in a Las Vegas Luxury Resort with her combo. She did a request portion and asked him where he was from of which his response was “Georgia, ma’am”. Cherie sang “Georgia on my Mind” to the young Lieutenant. They married after only knowing each other for 9 weeks and would have the most adventurous and loving 54 years of marriage until her death in 2013. Bill moved his California girl, Cherie, to a very cold Bethesda Maryland in December of 1958 where he was reassigned to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research & Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Upon Bill’s discharge from the U.S. Army he remained active in the Army Reserve and moved his bride back to the warm West Coast to become the primary Veterinarian and Director of the Primate Research Institute of California at Asiatic Animal Imports in San Mateo, California. It would be at Asiatic “Doc” Greer would learn the most important aspects of Primate care and well being under the mentorship of Stanford Gluck. In 1964 “Doc” Greer would accept a position which would bring him to the great state of Louisiana, working with Tulane University as Primary Veterinarian of Primate Medical Research at Delta Primate Center in Covington, LA. Bill’s 2 years at Delta opened many opportunities but the greatest adventure of his life was offered to him in 1965 by a small up and coming research group, Gulf South Research Institute (GSRI), based in the heart of Cajun Country, New Iberia, LA. In 1966 “Doc” Greer moved his family, which now included not only his wife, but also his much loved daughter, Shelley to New Iberia. Doc started his 34 year career as Primary Veterinarian of Primate Research at GSRI in an old Navy Airbase Taxiway Storage building with a handful of primates and armadillos, and became the Founding Director of Research over one of the most successful Research facilities in the country, NIRC/ULL. During his tenure with GSRI, now known as New Iberia Research Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, many medical & pharmaceutical breakthroughs occurred- the development of medicines for the treatment of Leprosy, using a multi drug treatment regimen therapy which contributed to the closing of the Leprosy hospital in Carville, La. One of the shining moments of his tenure came in 1976 when the research team at GSRI contributed greatly to Dr Carleton Gajdusek receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine with work done on isolating and identifying an extremely infectious malformed protein known as Kuru virus which was the first known human prion (protein) disease. Many more medical/research/pharmaceutical advancements, too numerous to mention, have also been made due to the amazing research done through GSRI – NIRC/ULL under “Doc” Greer’s ever watchful eye. Upon his retirement with NIRC/ULL, “Doc” worked closely with many law enforcement agencies throughout Louisiana to develop education & training policies and procedures, closely working with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department in the development of their Law Enforcement Training Facility, The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department Shooting Range, and Iberia Parish Outpost Island. “Doc” Greer is survived by his only child, who will miss him greatly, Shelley Greer Hebert and her husband, Paul, who lovingly cared for “Doc” in his final days. His cherished grandchildren: Currie Rankin (wife, Missy & son Jackson), Shanie Rankin Farnsworth (husband, Joshua & daughter, Arianna & son, Brensyn “Tripp”), Davis Rankin (wife, Megan & son, Connor, & daughters, Kennedy, Caroline & Kathryn), Hope Hebert, Lance Hebert and “Bonus” grand children Kelly Hebert, Joshua Hebert & Matthew Hebert. He is also survived by his 90 year old brother, Col. George D. Greer (Army retired), his “right hand man” Phil Rankin, numerous nieces & nephews and a multitude of friends and former workers who became “family”. Interment will be held at a later date. The family wishes to thank Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital PCU staff, Hospice of Acadiana & their amazing staff, and Laura Fruge Thibodeaux for the extraordinary care you gave to “Doc.” To view the on-line obituary and sign the guest register, please visit www.evangelinefuneralhome.com.
Evangeline Funeral Home of New Iberia is in charge of arrangements.
- Shelley G. Hebert & Paul, Daughter
- Col. George D. Greer, Brother
- Frank Greer, Father (deceased)
- Alma Davis Greer, Mother (deceased)
- Frank Greer, Jr., Brother (deceased)
- Anne Greer, Sister (deceased)
- He is also survived by hischerished grandchildren: Currie Rankin (wife, Missy & son Jackson), Shanie Rankin Farnsworth (husband, Joshua & daughter, Arianna & son, Brensyn “Tripp”), Davis Rankin (wife, Megan & son, Connor, & daughters, Kennedy, Caroline & Kathryn), Hope Hebert, Lance Hebert and “Bonus” grand children Kelly Hebert, Joshua Hebert & Matthew Hebert. He is also survived by his 90 year old brother, Col. George D. Greer (Army retired), his “right hand man” Phil Rankin, numerous nieces & nephews and a multitude of friends and former workers who became “family”.
Hospice of Acadiana
2600 Johnston Street Suite 200 , Lafayette, LA 70503
Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105
- Memorial Service Saturday, January 25, 2020
Dr. William "Bill" Greer
January 29, 2020
There are only a few silverbacks in the world of nonhuman primates and Bill was one of them! Tom Butler was right when he said Bill was a Senior Statesman of the Nonhuman Primate World, and he leaves a solid legacy through all those with whom he worked, trained, educated in a field that he worked tirelessly to enrich, grow, and flourish. I will miss that he is not here to continue his enrichment of us all. Rest in great peace, Bill, you more than earned it. My deepest condolences to his family!
January 25, 2020
I would like to send good thoughts to the family, extended family and many friends of Doc Greer. I was fortunate to have know this wise man for almost 15 years. Doc had a presence that very few people carry with them. Almost instantly, you felt his fatherly ways. When he spoke, it was natural to listen. I enjoyed and learned through our many conversations at “the range.” You will be missed Doc. We will do our best to keep your spirit, ideas and lessons taught alive for this next generation.
January 24, 2020
I was working at the Lafayette Police Department when I first met Doc Greer. He always had a very large presence wherever he was. Doc was so very professional in everything he did. He allowed us to use “his” range at the Monkey Farm. Doc also oversaw what we were doing and always had positive recommendations, that we were compelled to follow because of his all knowing demeanor. He advanced Law Enforcement in the Acadiana area more than any other person that I know. Doc, you trained and led us well. Thanks and God bless you and your family.
January 23, 2020
Worked at GSRI in the seventies. Great boss learned a lot RIP
January 23, 2020
Dr. William "Bill" Greer was an amazing Doctor good Husband, Father, Grandfather and fine example to his family friends and peers. One of my favorite memories with him is when I expressed to him I wanted to go to college to further my education in the medical field and that i felt I was to old to go back then he smiled and said of course it's never to late to go back and that i could do anything I put my mind to and basically encouraged me to
Accomplish my goals! Now, I'm half way done with furthing my education.He will be greatly missed by me.Gone but never forgotten!
Ronda & Steve Trahan
January 23, 2020
Dear Shelley and family, we are so sad about the loss of your father. Throughout the years our families lives have continued to enter twine, and our lives are better for it. You had amazing parents and they raised a beautiful, loving, caring, and faithful daughter. You have not only blessed so Many others around you in your daily life, but you truly have blessed them. We are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers and anytime you need anything we are here for you. May God bless you always.
January 22, 2020
It is with great sadness and respect that I feel compelled to send this message to all of " Doc's" family and friends that knew and admired him as a supervisor and a friend. At this time of mourning and loss for a great member of our Law Enforcement community, it goes without saying that the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office is a much better organization with "Doc's" patience and guiding hands to mentor it professionally to where it is today. My prayers and condolences go out to his daughter Shelley, his beautiful grand children Currie, Shanie, and Davis, and all of his great grand children. Also, a dedicated and loving Son in Law whom I have known forever Phil Rankin! Rest in peace "Doc"!
January 22, 2020
Shelley, You were blessed with very special parents. Although Doc had a long list of amazing accomplishments, he didn’t act like a big-wig! He touched so many lives both directly through his daily life & example, & indirectly through his research. I’m sure you’re very proud and thankful to be his daughter. I can imagine that he’s enjoying hearing your mom sing as they worship Jesus together and dancing on the streets of gold! May his legacy live on through you & your kids. Praying for God’s comfort in all of your hearts. 🙏♥️
January 21, 2020
Shelley, I didn’t know your beloved Dad, but I understand how much you love him, and always will. Just remember, you have the blessed hope and confidence of seeing him again in our eternal home. Until we all meet again, you have my condolences and prayers. There is a time to mourn...but also, a time to dance. Love you, my friend.
January 20, 2020
I knew Doc from the Law Enforcement community. Doc was a great personal friend to me but more important he was a tremendous supporter of law enforcement. He contributed so much to the training of officers. He always welcomed officers to his ranges for training. He will truly be missed but always remembered.
January 19, 2020
Please know that I am thinking of your family during this time of loss. I first met Bill circa 1967 and since then had a lot of opportunities to interact with him. We both were "chimp veterinarians" which is a relatively small group of folks. I visited New Iberia on several occasions. Bill was one of the elder "statesmen" in the world of nonhuman primates (monkeys & apes). He was very knowledgeable and experienced and was always ready to help others in the field. He introduced a number of innovations especially in caging. Bottom line is I not only truly liked Bill but had tremendous respect for him. I will not forget him.
January 19, 2020
Dr. Bill Greer was the founding director of the New Iberia Research Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
While I was not fortunate enough to know him,’several of his colleagues at the center recall his vision, his passion and his commitment to research and to improving the human condition.
Through his work, he has left behind a powerful legacy and a center that continues to make significant advances in biomedical research. The faculty, staff, and students of the Center and the University express our gratitude for his leadership and mourn his loss.
Vice President for Research
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Nolan Gaspard. Jr
January 18, 2020
Shelly. Sorry. For. Your. Loss.
January 18, 2020
Sherry , I knew your mom and dad since the 60's and liked them both ....so sorry to hear of his passing...all of you will be in my prayers.....
January 17, 2020
Big Bill, as I always knew him, and called him that, was one of the most gracious person I knew. I always could count on him for counsel and sound advice along with a good dose of humor and wit. Even though I was one of of his program managers, he was always my senior in important matters and a mentor of sorts for primate facility management. We both graduated from the best University in Georgia and would joke about some of the old people and places in Athens. He was a person that comes along once in a lifetime, I will miss him, l’m glad he was a part of my life. May He Rest In Peace, God bless his Family. Milton April